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We’ve Officially Got Four New Elements

Chemistry geeks rejoice! The 7th period is complete!

Posted on January 4, 2016, at 7:56 p.m. ET

🚨🚨 New element alert! 🚨🚨

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Four new elements have officially been added to the periodic table of elements, according to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

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These elements had been going by their temporary names: ununtrium (113), ununpentium (115), ununseptium (117), and ununoctium (118).

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Element 113 was confirmed by a Japanese research group. The other three were confirmed by a joint American-Russian effort.

It's one thing to find evidence of an element once. But to confirm its existence, as was done here, you need to demonstrate it experimentally multiple times.

These elements don’t exist in nature and can only be created in the lab by blasting particles at each other with a particle accelerator. They don't last for very long, either.

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Element 113 for example, exists for less than a thousandth of a second.

In addition to having the honor of making the discovery, the research groups that confirmed their existence get to take a first crack at naming them, too!

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According to the IUPAC, new elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property, or a scientist. After the research teams make their suggestion, the IUPAC will check them for consistency, translatability into other languages and also other prior historic uses before making a final call.

Degrassium, anyone?

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