Chemistry buffs and scientists rejoice: Four new elements have been added to the periodic table, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has announced, completing the seventh row of the iconic chemistry chart. The new elements were discovered by teams of researchers in Japan, America, and Russia. All four elements are man-made radioactive superheavy elements with slightly longer lifetimes than previously discovered superheavy elements, leading to hope of eventually discovering “a so-called ‘island of stability’ where elements with longer half-lives will be found,” according to RIKEN researchers, one of the teams who are credited with discovering one of the new elements.
The elements have officially been given the atomic numbers 113, 115, 117, and 118 on the periodic table. For now they are identified by their placeholder names and temporary symbols: ununtrium, Uut (113); ununpentium, Uup (115); ununseptium, Uus (117); and ununoctium, Uuo (118). However, the researchers who discovered the new elements will be able to suggest names and two-letter symbols in the coming months, with a formal announcement of their final names coming from IUPAC by the summer. New elements can be named after a place or country, a scientist, a mineral, or a mythological concept.
Elements 115 and 117 were discovered by a collaboration between the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in America. Element 118 was discovered by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Element 113 was discovered by researchers at RIKEN in Japan. Element 113 is the first element on the periodic table found in Asia.
The last time elements were added to the periodic table was in 2011 with the addition of elements 114 (Flerovium) and 116 (Livermorium).