It’s been almost six years since chemists have added to the periodic table, but the recent confirmation of four new elements not only ends the drought, it completes the seventh row of the table. Any new elements discovered after this will be venturing into truly uncharted territory—none from the eighth row have been discovered.
The new elements cover atomic numbers 113, 115, 117, and 118 and were synthesized between 2003 and 2010. The latter three were created by a collaboration of scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, while discovery of element 113 was awarded to scientists from the Riken Institute in Japan.
Here’s The Guardian with more:
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.”
Ryoji Noyori, former Riken president and Nobel laureate in chemistry said: “To scientists, this is of greater value than an Olympic gold medal”.
The teams that discovered the new elements will be submitting their preferred names in the coming months to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry for review and public comment. Since 2002, the IUPAC has allowed new elements to be named after mythological concepts, minerals, places or countries, properties of the elements themselves, or scientists.
The IUPAC is prepared for elements 119 and beyond—they have provisional recommendations for atomic numbers as high as 900.