Three New Elements Named

If you remember your periodic table (and why wouldn’t you?), you may remember some oddly named elements at the highest numbers – ununnilium, unununium, and ununbium, for example. These were placeholder names simply describing their atomic number, but now they’ve finally got names of their own. 

From LiveScience:

The periodic table of elements just got a bit heftier today (Nov. 4), as the names of three new elements were approved by the General Assembly of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

Elements 110, 111 and 112 have been named darmstadtium (Ds), roentgenium (Rg) and copernicium (Cn).

Temporarily called ununbium, copernicium, the new element 112, was named for Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), who first suggested that the Earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around, and starting the “Copernican Revolution.” In a statement released in July 2009, Sigurd Hofmann, head of the discovery team at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Germany, said they named the element after Copernicus “to honor an outstanding scientist, who changed our view of the world.”

… Element number 111, officially renamed roentgenium by the General Assembly, was originally discovered in 1994 when a team at GSI created three atoms of the element, about a month after their discovery of darmstadtium, on Dec. 8…

Roentgenium was named after German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845 – 1923), ridding itself of its temporary name unununium, Roentgen was the first to produce and detect X-rays, on Nov. 8 1895. He won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1901 for the work.

Darmstadtium, the new element 110, which took the temporary name ununnilium, was first synthesized on Nov. 9, 1994, at the GSI facility near the city of Darmstadt…

None of these exist in nature; they can only be created, with great difficulty of course, in a lab, and they’re so large that they quickly come apart into smaller elements. Thanks to these names the periodic table got a little less weird, but we still have ununtrium, ununquadium, ununpentium, ununhexium, ununseptium and ununoctium in need of names. Newtonium, anyone? Maybe some Canadium? No?

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One Response to Three New Elements Named

  1. Pingback: Two New Elements Named, and Some Notes on the Periodic Table « Science Picks

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