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Meet the newest elements, including Nihonium and Tennessine

The organization responsible for naming chemical elements and atomic weights unveils the newest additions to the periodic table.

Creative views of lab equipment. Empty bottles, test-tube racks, pyrex test-tubes, two burettes. NOI. Note that this image has been retouched for creative purposes and some elements might have been altered. Front view. Yellow background
Santiago Arribas Peña

The periodic table of elements is about to welcome four new elements by name. The names have been reviewed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and are expected to be approved later this year by the IUPAC council.

So say hello to Nihonium, or Nh, for the element with atomic number 113. The name was proposed by the element's discoverers in Japan, who wanted to make a direct connection to the country where it was discovered. Nihon is one of two ways to say "Japan" in Japanese, and it means "land of the rising sun." The team "hopes that pride and faith in science will displace the lost trust of those who suffered from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster," according to a statement from the IUPAC.

Moscovium, or Mc, recognizes the work of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, based in Russia. Moscovium has an atomic weight of 115. Element 117 will now go by Tennessine, or Ts, in recognition of the contributions of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in superheavy-element research. All three names "are in line with tradition honoring a place or geographical region," according to the IUPAC.

The element Oganesson, with the symbol Og, differs in that it's named after Professor Yuri Oganessian, of Russia, who helped discover superheavy elements. Oganesson is number 118 on the atomic table.