Chemistry students will now have to work just a little harder. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry announced names for four new elements Wednesday.
Given the atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118, the four new elements have been named Nihonium (Nh), Moscovium (Mc), Tennessine (Ts) and Oganesson (Og), respectively. Until now, they'd been known by the Latin words for their atomic numbers: ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium and ununoctium.
Elements can be named for a mythological concept or character, a mineral or similar substance, a place or geographical region, a property of the element, or a scientist.
And, of course, they must end in "-ium," "-ine" or "-on" depending on the grouping of elements they belong to. IUPAC also prefers the names translate easily across major languages.
The elements were named by the scientists in the U.S., Japan and Russia who discovered them. The researchers hailed from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee; Vanderbilt University in Tennessee; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California; and the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator Based Science in Japan.
So, Moscovium is named after Moscow; Tennessine is named after the U.S. state where Oak Ridge and Vanderbilt University are located; Nihon is one way of saying "Japan" in Japanese; Oganesson is named after the 83-year-old Russian scientist Yuri Oganessian. Oganesson is only the second element to be named after a living scientist.
Tennessee is the second U.S. state to be recognized with an element; California was the first.
The new names will now undergo a five-month public review to allow for any potential objections.
In the meantime, the hunt for heavier elements, and the first entry of the eighth row of the periodic table, continues.