4 new elements complete periodic table’s seventh row

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Four new elements (outlined in orange) were added to the periodic table last week. Photo by DePiep/Wikimedia

Four new elements (outlined in orange) were added to the periodic table last week. Photo by DePiep/Wikimedia

Ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium and ununoctium are the tentative names for the four newest members of the periodic table of elements. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the official body in charge of chemistry’s ingredient list, added these elements to slots 113, 115, 117 and 118 on Dec. 30, completing the seventh row of the table.

These elements are the first to be officially added to the periodic table since 2011, when elements 114 and 116 were ratified.

Japan’s RIKEN Institute has been credited for the discovery of ununtrium (113), while ununpentium (115), ununseptium (117) and ununoctium (118) were discovered by scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia; California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

“The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row,” Professor Jan Reedijk, President of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC, said in a statement. Each of the elements was synthesized by smashing lighter elements together and then tracking the radioactive decay of the resulting superheavy elements.

The discoverers will have the opportunity to select new, permanent names for these elements in 2016, though the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC must confirm the names for consistency and translatability into other languages. Element 113 leads the line for rebranding, and it will also be the first element named by Asian researchers.

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