The periodic table is fascinating. The mystique, the awe, the curiosity it inspires. Superficially, it’s a sort of grid with some squares missing, but the more you read into and learn what the layout means, the more you realise just how much information is packed in there. Each element is a unique arrangement of subatomic particles ― protons, neutrons and electrons ― beginning with Hydrogen having 1 of each, through to Uranium with 92 of each, and beyond. What is the periodic table but the most elegant scientific infographic, a masterpiece of representation, of condensed empirical knowledge?
There’s something intrinsically awe-inspiring about the names of elements too. Or is it their elementary nature? Building blocks of the Universe and all that.
Very charming. They inspire and captivate me.
One day I’d like to create pieces of music about them.
Recently I found out that a few synthetic elements had been officially confirmed and given proper names. Until this occurs, these elements are given systematic placeholder names based on their atomic number. So element number 113 was referred to as ‘Ununtrium’ which is Un-un-tri (1, 1, 3) and the elemental suffix –ium.
Element 114 was known as ‘Ununquadium’, 115 was ‘Ununpentium’ and so on. Theoretically you can keep going higher and higher like you can with polygon names: (triangle, quadrangle, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, decagon, undecagon, dodecagon, etc).
Isn’t this fun!
Elements 114 and 116 were given the names Flerovium and Livermorium in 2012, and the symbols Fl and Lv.
In early 2016 four more synthetic elements were named:
113: Nihonium (Nh)
115: Moscovium (Mc)
117: Tennessine (Ts)
118: Oganesson (Og)
The body that oversees the naming process, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) will formalise these changes in November 2016, until then the proposed names are open for public comment.