The seventh row of the periodic table of elements has finally been completed, as four new elements have been added. This represents the first time that new elements have been added to the table since 2011.
The new elements were discovered by scientists in the United States, Japan and Russia. The four elements were formally verified on December 30 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The union is responsible for chemical nomenclature, terminology and measurement.
A team of American and Russian scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California had shown enough evidence to claim the discovery of the elements numbered 115, 117 and 118.
Meanwhile, the discovery of element 113 was awarded to scientists from the Riken Institute in Japan. Leading researcher at the Riken Institute Kosuke Morita says that his team will now focus on the uncharted territory of elements 119 and higher.
President of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC Professor Jan Reedijk said, “The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row. IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalizing 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).”
Former Riken president and Nobel laureate in chemistry Ryojj Noyori stated, “To scientists, this is of greater value than an Olympic gold medal.”
The elements will currently maintain placeholder names until they are officially named by the discoverers in the coming months. The naming of element 113 will be the first time that an element has been named in Asia.
Most elements are traditionally named after a mythological concept, country, property or a prominent scientist. The last elements to be added to the periodic table were elements 114 and 116 in 2011. Virtually all of the elements at the end of the periodic table are man-made and only exist for fractions of a second before decaying.