New Element Names Released


Exciting news in the area of new elements – the names of the four latest elements have been proposed.

The existence of elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 were confirmed earlier this year by Russian and Japanese scientists, and IUPAC have announced their suggested names earlier this week.

Element 113, discovered by Kosuke Morita’s research group at RIKEN in Japan, will be named Nihonium, chemical symbol Nh. The element is named after Japan itself, from the Japanese word Nihon, and will be the first East Asian name to appear on the periodic table.

Elements 115 and 117 are both geographically named, being Moscovium (Mc) and Tennessine (Ts) respectively. Moscovium takes its name from the location of the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research (JINR), Moscow, and Tennessine is inspired from the area of the US where a great deal of superheavy element research is conducted, Tennessee. These names celebrate the collaboration between Russia and the US on the discovery of these elements.

The same group affectionately named element 118, Oganesson (Og), after Russian nuclear physicist Yuri Oganessian. Oganessian works at the JINR, and has had a hand in the discovery of numerous superheavy elements, including element 117. This move may prove controversial, as it’s only the second time an element has been named after a living scientist. When Seaborgium was named after Glenn Seaborg in 1993, IUPAC initially rejected the name.

Personally, I think these are very apt names for these new elements, which are not only easy to pronounce but make perfect sense. IUPAC will now put the names up for public scrutiny for a period of 5 months, so time will tell if they’ll stick. I certainly hope so!



Four New Elements Finally Fill Up Seventh Row


News just in! It has been announced today that the seventh row of the period table has finally been filled up, with elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 being verified by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry  (IUPAC) on 30 December.

The body announced that a team of Russian and American scientists had provided sufficient evidence for elements  115, 117 and 118 to be added to the periodic table, and IUPAC awarded credit for element 113 to a group of Japanese researchers at the Riken Institute.

The elements are the first to be added since 2011, when elements 114 and 116 were added.

Kosuke Morita, who was leading the research at Riken, said his team now planned to “look to the unchartered territory of element 119 and beyond.”

IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalising names and symbols for these elements, temporarily named as ununtrium, (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118). The groups credited for proving the existence of the elements are currently thinking of names for the elements, which will then be present to IUPAC to go under public review.

Like other super-heavy elements, these elements are artifically made and only exist for very short periods of time before decaying into more stable elements.

The chemistry community is abuzz with this news, and I’m sure we’re all very excited to find out what names are given to the final members of Period 7!


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Periodic Video Number 500!


This year the University of Nottingham’s Periodic Videos have posted their 500th video – a collection of some of the best moments from this unexpected internet sensation.

If you haven’t heard of the Periodic Table of Videos, you’re missing out. Five years ago, the team aimed at making a video for each element of the periodic table, highlighting their history, uses and any interesting facts about each one. They’re interesting to any lover of chemistry or science in general – adults and children alike. Even so, no one expected them to prove so popular – the channel has now hit over 350,000 subscribers from around the globe.

The channel took off to such an extent that the videos have now been extended, with videos about current events and news in the science community, significant molecules and compounds in the world right now, and many of the elements are having new videos made about them. As the videos became more popular, funding was increased and many of the videos now involve trips to far off destinations such as Sydney’s Bondai Beach and and the base camp of Mount Everest.

Much of the success may be attributed to the popularity of the videos’ main personality – Professor Martyn Poliakoff. Viewers love both his ‘mad scientist’ appearance and his genuine passion for chemistry, and we’ve even had visitors flying over from abroad to visit him in person. Other members of our academic staff feature in the videos as well, giving their expert insight into elements that interest them and getting involved with the demonstrations – including my own supervisor, Dr Deborah Kays.

If you’re interested in the elements, I strongly suggest you take a peek. There’s plenty of everyone – with fun, flashes and bangs, and maybe a bit of education along the way. We all thoroughly enjoy watching them here at the university, and I’m sure you will too!