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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.

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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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