The world is going to need new science textbooks.
Four new elements have been added to the periodic table, finally filling out its seventh row, in a change approved by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), which governs such decisions.
The elements were discovered in the past several years by researchers in Japan, Russia, and the United States, IUPAC said in a statement on December 30. Chemists and chemistry enthusiasts are, and we mean this in the best way possible, nerding out.
“The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row,” said Jan Reedijk, a Dutch professor and president of IUPAC’s Inorganic Chemistry Division, which will now begin accepting suggestions for names and symbols for the new elements from the scientists involved the discoveries.
The new kids on the block—elements 113, 115, 117, and 118—are “superheavy,” a label given to elements with more than 104 protons. Saying that researchers “discovered” them is actually misleading—the elements do not occur in nature, and were created in laboratories using particle accelerators.
Element 113, whose temporary working name is ununtrium (Uut), was discovered by Japanese researchers at the Riken institute. Elements 115 (Uup), known as ununpentium, and 117, known as ununseptium (Uus), were discovered by researchers from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Element 118, referred to as ununoctium (Uuo), was discovered by a joint team of Dubna and Livermore researchers.