Credit Chris Gash

It’s official. Chemistry’s highest gatekeepers have accepted the newly proposed names for elements 113, 115, 117 and 118.

Please welcome to the periodic table: Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine and Oganesson.

Scientists first synthesized the new elements between 2002 and 2010, but it wasn’t until December of 2015 that the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially recognized the discoveries. Then in June of this year the scientists who discovered the super-heavy, highly-reactive elements sent Iupac their suggested names.

After a five-month waiting period when members of the public could ask questions about the new elements, the foursome were approved on Wednesday, formally filling their boxes in chemistry’s most fundamental table.

Joe Hamilton, left, and A. V. Ramayya, who found the new element Tennessine, autographing a periodic table of the elements for a co-worker at Vanderbilt University in June. Credit Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Here are the four elements and where their names come from:

• Japanese researchers proposed Nihonium, symbol Nh, for element 113 after the Japanese word Nihon, which means Japan.

• A team consisting of scientists from Russia and the United States named element 115, symbol Mc, after Moscow, and element 117, symbol Ts, after Tennessee.

• Element 118 was named Oganesson, symbol Og, for Yuri Oganessian, a prolific element hunter, by the Russian team that discovered it.

Continue reading the main story

With their confirmation, we bid adieu to the periodic table’s seventh row placeholders. Good bye ununtrium. Adios ununpentium. Sayonara ununseptium. Arrivederci ununoctium. We can also put to rest suggestions like Lemmium, Octarine and Trumpium.

Correction: December 1, 2016
An earlier version of this article misstated the symbol for Moscovium. It is Mc, not Ms.
Continue reading the main story