Periodic table elements named for Moscow, Japan, Tennessee

  • Updated: Jun 09, 2016 13:37 IST
An entry on the periodic table of the elements filled in and autographed by physics professors Joe Hamilton and AV Ramayya is displayed at Vanderbilt University Wednesday, June 8, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo)

You’ll soon see four new names on the periodic table of the elements, including three that honor Moscow, Japan and Tennessee.

The names are among four recommended Wednesday by an international scientific group. The fourth is named for a Russian scientist.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, which rules on chemical element names, presented its proposal for public review. The names had been submitted by the element discoverers.

The four elements, known now by their numbers, completed the seventh row of the periodic table when the chemistry organization verified their discoveries last December.

Tennessee is the second US state to be recognized with an element; California was the first. Element names can come from places, mythology, names of scientists or traits of the element. Other examples: americium, einsteinium and titanium.

Kosuke Morita, researcher of Riken (Institute of Physical and Chemical Research) who led a group discovered element 113, poses for a photo with a periodic table of the elements after the element was named, during a press conference at the institution in Wako, northwest of Tokyo, Thursday, June 9, 2016. (AP Photo)

Joining more familiar element names such as hydrogen, carbon and lead are:

— moscovium (mah-SKOH’-vee-um), symbol Mc, for element 115, and tennessine (TEH’-neh-seen), symbol Ts, for element 117. The discovery team is from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

Vanderbilt physics professor Joseph Hamilton, who played a role in the discoveries, proposed naming an element for Tennessee. He had hoped to use the symbol Tn, but it had been used in the past and couldn’t be reassigned to the new element.

— oganesson (OH’-gah-NEH’-sun), symbol Og, for element 118. The name honors Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian.

— nihonium (nee-HOH’-nee-um), symbol Nh, for element 113. The element was discovered in Japan, and Nihon is one way to say the country’s name in Japanese. It’s the first element to be discovered in an Asian country.

An official at a Japanese institute involved in the discovery said the name was chosen to recognize government funding for the project. “We wanted to show our research has been supported by the Japanese people,” said Kosuke Morita, a research group director at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science.

The public comment period will end November 8.

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