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Four new elements, as predicted

January 01, 2016

IUPAC’s confirmation of four new elements, 113, 115, 117 and 118, was announced a couple of days ago with very little fanfare, and in the process, period 7 of the periodic table was completed!

Of course, if you happen to follow my blog, you’ll know that back in July of this year I wrote this post which predicted the same. If I’m honest, I was a little surprised that all four were ratified by IUPAC, especially 118, but as you can see from that earlier post, not entirely.

Four New Elements

The Japanese team at RIKEN only gets 113, and the other new elements are jointed accredited to the Russian and American collaborations.

Now we go to the naming stage, and my July post has a few predictions for the RIKEN accredited element. I suppose I should now have a guess at some names and symbols for all four, although that little task will be a lot more hit and miss than the original predictions. If you’d like to read more about the naming process and what is and isn’t acceptable, take a look at this document. It’s actually surprisingly approachable and readable (if you’re into that sort of thing), and isn’t too long.

Anyway, I suppose the search of 119 is now being accelerated – who knows, maybe in another few years we will start period 8 and maybe Q8 from the 2006 AP Chemistry Exam will seem just a little more real!


  1. Eric Scerri

    Thanks Adrian.

    A few proposed names;

    Lewisium,Paulingium, Landauium, Fockium, Sakharovium (maybe too many physicists?)

    For Japan: Nipponium cannot be used because it was proposed before and refuted.

    That leaves Nagaokium, Fukuium, Tomonagium, Yukawium, Negishium or maybe just Rikenium which seems the most likely.

    • Adrian

      Hi Eric, thanks for chiming in, I always love your perspective on such matters.

      I was forgetting the previous, spurious use of Nipponium by Ogawa (I have read A Tale of 7 Elements, honestly!), but it raises an interesting question for me. Prior to the relatively new IUPAC guidelines on naming, at what point did a spurious name, become considered ‘used’. Was it the second that it appeared in (for example) Chemical News? Or did it have to appear in multiple journals? Perhaps it had to start appearing over time, or on new, printed tables? Any idea what the criteria were? I’m guessing that such things are lost in time, but clearly there has to be some threshold.

      • Eric Scerri

        Interesting question. I don’t know that there were clear criteria. A good place to look might be the recent book called Lost Elements by Fontani et al.


        • Adrian

          I LOVE that book, it’s an amazing collection of stories. I was lucky enough to meet Mary Virginia, and she signed my copy back in July of this year. The book itself has a pretty interesting story, too. Basically a PhD thesis that was painstakingly translated from Italian to English by her – extraordinary!

  2. Eric Scerri

    Another announcement that IUPAC made at the same as the four new elements was that there will be a task force as they call it to investigate the question of what elements constitute group 3 of the periodic table. I am to be the chair of this task force that will gather at an ACS meeting.


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