Four Elements, One Row(s)
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) decided to up everyone’s #squadgoals in 2016 by including four newcomers to the periodic table of elements. In case you were passing notes (or texting for the Millennials and Founders) in high school chemistry, the periodic table of elements is a collection of the different building blocks that make up the universe. Carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen make life possible. Lithium makes powerful batteries and helps treat bipolar disorder. And boron helps make silly putty malleable and bouncy. So, as you can see, all elements are equally important, but have wildly different uses.
The new kids on the block are elements number 113, 115, 117, and 118. While inorganic chemists have hypothesized the existence of these elements for a while now, it is difficult to create them because they fall apart as soon as they are created, much like Bachelor Ben will see this spring. However, research teams from Japan, Russia, and the US showed they were "in it for the right reasons” and have been given a rose by the IUPAC for their discoveries. The elements are not naturally occurring and are made synthetically in laboratories by combining lighter nuclei and watching them decay. And lovers of orderly things can rejoice because those unsightly gaps in the table are gone for good! By popular demand from bored, yet organized 10th graders and chemists alike, the 7th period (or the last row) is finally full.
As for now, the names of the new elements are ununtrium (Uut), ununpentium (Uup), ununseptium (Uus), and ununoctium (Uuo). But don’t get too attached because these names are just temporary. For those of us who think they sound like a child asking you to spell icup aloud, don’t fear! New names will be submitted by the discoverers and approved by the IUPAC after 5 months of public review. The elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place, a property, or a scientist. While you can’t directly submit suggestions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to put in your two cents. Remember, the names and symbols have to be unique. While they will probably pick something or someone important to science, Hogwartsium (Hw) or Adeleium (Ad) definitely should be considered. Only time will show the true colors of the 4 elements. With all of these new characters, this is bound to be the most explosive season for the periodic table of the elements, ever.