[Image above] Periodic table picnic table. Credit: Larry, Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The Joint Working Party for the Discovery of New Elements has confirmed the discovery of four new elements — 113, 115, 117, and 118 — that finally complete the table’s seventh row.
The scientists from the United States, Japan, and Russia who discovered the elements now get the honor of naming the new additions—after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property, or a scientist of their choosing, of course.
But this news might not be as groundbreaking as the media buzz makes it seem…
That’s because these “new elements” are actually old news, according to a recent video from American Chemical Society Reactions.
“Scientists created elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 years ago,” explains Matt Davenport, C&EN reporter, in the video. “They’ve even had placeholders on the periodic table with temporary names. They’re making news now because IUPAC—the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry—is officially adding them to the periodic table.”
But just because this isn’t “news” doesn’t mean this isn’t a big deal. IUPAC has a stringent vetting process, so the fact that these elements made it to the finish line is impressive and worth celebrating.
Check out the video to learn more about why it took so long to get these elements secured in their rightful places on the periodic table.
Credit: American Chemical Society Reactions; YouTube