In December, the international body that governs the rules of naming chemicals added four new elements to the periodic table. In one swoop, the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry had finally completed the seventh row of the periodic table.
Yesterday (June 8), the groups that discovered those elements were invited to propose new names, which will undergo a public review before final acceptance. Japanese researchers proposed Nihonium (Nh) for element 113, named after the Japanese name for Japan. US and Russian researchers proposed Moscovium (Mc) for element 115, after Moscow; Tennessine (Ts) for element 117, after Tennessee, where one of the research labs is based; and Oganesson (Og) for element 118, after scientist Yuri Oganessian. The only other US state to have received this honor is California, with Californium (Cf).
Before they were proposed, the groups had to make themselves familiar to some strange rules that have been laid down for naming new elements. In brief, here are the rules: Names must not differ in different languages, and they can only be named after a place, a mythological character, a mineral or a property of the element, or a scientist. Many element names have their origins in Greek or Latin, but they also come from French, German, English, Persian, Swedish, Sanskrit, and other languages.