Anyone who took chemistry in school remembers the stress and strain of memorizing the periodic table.
Well, a few new additions have been added to the table we all know and love.
Last week, elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 were added to the last row of the periodic table after confirmation by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the group that oversees chemical nomenclature and terminology.
The four new elements are what are called superheavy elements. The characteristic of superheavy elements are that they are artificially made, and possess very short half-lives. Thus, the elements decay into other elements very quickly, making them difficult to study.
The new elements have yet to be named. Elements 115, 117, 118 were discovered by a team of scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, according to The Guardian.
The IUPIC credited the discovery of element 113 to the Riken Institute in Japan, a team of scientists led by Ryoji Noyori, a Nobel laureate in chemistry. This team will have the honor of naming the element, making element 113 the first element to be named on the continent of Asia. The element currently has the placeholder name of ununtrium.
Just how significant is this discovery? Ryoji Noyori, former Riken president and Nobel laureate in chemistry, said in a statement: “To scientists, this is of greater value than an Olympic gold medal”.
In terms of next steps, Kosuke Morita tells The Guardian that his team plans to “look to the unchartered territory of element 119 and beyond.” The scientists will be looking to discover what they call an “island of stability.” Though most superheavy metals have short decay times, recently superheavy elements with longer lifespans have been discovered, so the scientists will be looking to unearth elements that are both superheavy and stable.
Below is the new and completed periodic table.
— Techworm (@Techworm_in) January 4, 2016