Japan creates history with chemistry as periodic table gets new members

Chemistry students the world over will soon have four more names of elements to remember, and a new periodic table to boot. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the global body responsible for the table, announced on Thursday that it has verified the discovery of four new chemical elements.

Scientists from Japan have fulfilled the criteria for the element Z=113, making them the first Asian scientists to achieve this feat. Collaborative efforts between American and Russian scientists have led to the discovery of elements with atomic numbers 115, 117 and 118, the IUPAC said in a statement. This means that seventh row in the periodic table is now complete.

Kosuke Morita. AFP

Kosuke Morita. AFP

“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 the statement.

The scientists have now been invited to name the elements, making the Japanese scientists the first Asian scientists to receive this honour.

Japan's Riken Institute said a team led by Kyushu University professor Kosuke Morita was awarded the right after successfully creating the new synthetic element three times from 2004 to 2012. The name has yet to be decided, but Riken said that Morita will propose one in 2016.

"I feel grateful that the name will be included in the table for the first time after this recognition," Morita said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, the Russian and US scientists will be awarded the naming rights for the other three elements. A collaboration among the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, USA; and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA fulfilled the criteria for elements Z=115 and 117 and so they will be invited to propose permanent names and symbols. In the case of Z=118, the invitation will be extended only to the institutes in Dubna and California, said the IUPAC statement.

The Guardian reported that there are restrictions when it comes to naming new elements; the names have to be based on either a mythological concept, a mineral, a place, a property or a scientist.

With inputs from AFP

Updated Date: Jan 04, 2016 17:21 PM

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