Chemistry Rejig: Periodic Table Gets Four Brand New Elements

The four elements have now completed the seventh row in the periodic table.

2 min read
Kosuke Morita of Riken Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based
Science points at periodic table of the elements. (Photo: AP)

Science books around the world are now out of date, thanks to the addition of four new elements to the seventh row of the periodic table.

The new elements were verified by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) – the body that governs chemical classification, terminology and measurement – last week, and have been numbered 113, 115, 117 and 118.

This is the first addition to the periodic table since 2011, when elements 114 and 116 were added.

The New Elements

  • Element 113: Discovered by the RIKEN Institute in Japan.
  • Named Ununtrium for now; symbol: Uut.
  • Elements 115 and 117: Discovered by scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
  • Working names and symbols are ununpentium and Uup for 115, and ununseptium and Uus for 117.
  • Element 118: Discovered by the teams from Dubna and California.
  • Named ununoctium as of now; symbol Uuo.

The elements will be formally named by the teams that discovered them in the coming months. Elements can be named after mythological concepts, minerals, places, countries, properties or scientists, says the IUPAC. Element 113 is set to be the first element to be named in Asia.

How Were They Created?
The new super-heavy man-made chemical elements were created by smashing lighter nuclei into one another and tracking their decay into “hitherto unknown isotopes of slightly lighter elements”. Like most newer elements, the four new elements only exist for fractions of a second before decaying into other elements.

With these new discoveries, the scientific world is charting ahead. Kosuke Morita, of the Riken Institute, says his team now plans to “look to the unchartered territory of element 119 and beyond.”

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