Four new elements added to the periodic table – all variants of "Unobtanium"

From the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and the “can’t touch this” department comes these new super-heavy and super-unstable elements that only exist for microseconds in an atom smasher.

Discovery and Assignment of Elements with Atomic Numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118

IUPAC announces the verification of the discoveries of four new chemical elements: The 7th period of the periodic table of elements is complete.


The fourth IUPAC/IUPAP Joint Working Party (JWP) on the priority of claims to the discovery of new elements has reviewed the relevant literature for elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 and has determined that the claims for discovery of these elements have been fulfilled, in accordance with the criteria for the discovery of elements of the IUPAP/IUPAC Transfermium Working Group (TWG) 1991 discovery criteria. These elements complete the 7th row of the periodic table of the elements, and the discoverers from Japan, Russia and the USA will now be invited to suggest permanent names and symbols. The new elements and assigned priorities of discovery are as follows:

Element 113 (temporary working name and symbol: ununtrium, Uut)

The RIKEN collaboration team in Japan have fulfilled the criteria for elementZ=113 and will be invited to propose a permanent name and symbol.

Elements 115, 117, and 118 (temporary working names and symbols: ununpentium, Uup; ununseptium, Uus; and ununoctium, Uuo)

The collaboration between the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, USA; and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA have fulfilled the criteria for element Z=115, 117 and will be invited to propose permanent names and symbols.


The collaboration between the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, USA have fulfilled the criteria for element Z=118 and will be invited to propose a permanent name and symbol.

The priorities for four new chemical elements are being introduced simultaneously, after the careful verification of the discoveries and priorities. The decisions are detailed in two reports by the Joint Working Party (JWP), which includes experts drawn from IUPAC and IUPAP (the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics). These reports will be published in an early 2016 issue of the IUPAC journal Pure and Applied Chemistry (PAC).The JWP has reviewed the relevant literature pertaining to several claims of these new elements. The JWP has determined that the RIKEN collaboration have fulfilled the criteria for the discovery of element with atomic numbers Z=113. Several studies published from 2004 to 2012 have been construed as sufficient to ratify the discovery and priority.

In the same PAC report, the JWP also concluded that the collaborative work between scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia; from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, USA; and from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA (the Dubna-Livermore-Oak Ridge collaborations), starting in 2010, and subsequently confirmed in 2012 and 2013, have met the criteria for discovery of the elements with atomic numbersZ=115 and Z=117.

Finally, in a separate PAC article the Dubna–Livermore collaboration started in 2006 is reported as having satisfied the criteria for discovery of element Z=118.

“A particular difficulty in establishing these new elements is that they decay into hitherto unknown isotopes of slightly lighter elements that also need to be unequivocally identified” commented JWP chair Professor Paul J. Karol, “but in the future we hope to improve methods that can directly measure the atomic number, Z“.

“The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row. IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalizing names and symbols for these elements temporarily named as ununtrium, (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium  (Uuo, element 118)” said Professor Jan Reedijk, President of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC.

The proposed names and symbols will be checked by the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC for consistency, translatability into other languages, possible prior historic use for other cases, etc. New elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist (see: W.H. Koppenol, PAC 74 (2002) 787-791). After Divisional acceptance, the names and two-letter symbols will be presented for public review for five months, before the highest body of IUPAC, the Council, will make a final decision on the names of these new chemical elements and their two-letter symbols and their introduction into the Periodic Table of the Elements.

“As the global organization that provides objective scientific expertise and develops the essential tools for the application and communication of chemical knowledge for the benefit of humankind, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry is pleased and honored to make this announcement concerning elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 and the completion of the seventh row of the periodic table of the elements,” said IUPAC President Dr. Mark C. Cesa, adding that, “we are excited about these new elements, and we thank the dedicated scientists who discovered them for their painstaking work, as well the members of the IUPAC/IUPAP Joint Working Party for completing their essential and critically important task.”

120 thoughts on “Four new elements added to the periodic table – all variants of "Unobtanium"

      • (Beware. Tucci78 appears to me to be an agent provocateur, intent on fomenting some anti-PC/SJW (in this case anti-“3rd wave feminism”) harsh words, that can then be cherry picked to paint this site as a hangout for “right wing extremists”.)

        • JohnKnight noises:

          …to paint this site as a hangout for “right wing extremists”

          Ooh, long past “too late,” there, vermin.

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          — John C. Wright (2010)

    • All four of the new elements are believed to assist CO2 in the creation of catastrophic man made global warming climate change.

  1. What good memorizing the Periodic Table if they keep changing it? Can’t we have a little constancy for once?

    • The Uup type symbols are the abbreviation for the Latin word corresponding to the atomic number. Later on, a permanent name and symbol will be assigned.

      • “Later on, a permanent name and symbol will be assigned.”
        Shouldn’t that be “unun-assigned”?

      • “Now, they are just getting the homogenization right.”
        It’s my understanding that homogenization is an isotopic form of several basic condiments. So, for example we may have 2My, an unstable isotope of Mayonnaise that quickly decays to foot fungus.

    • And that it is predicted to be solid, though I have difficulties in understanding how you can have a solid with half life of 20s. Red hot gas is more what I’d expect.

  2. I’m remembering fondly when some theoreticians believed that there would be an “island of stability,” that if we could just get past these very unstable elements around 110, the superheavy elements might have half-lives long enough to allow isolation in macroscopic quantities.
    Turns out, no. But it was a neat prediction. (I swear I am not making making any kind of comparison to theoretical predictions in a very different field.)

    • I read something where if more neutrons were added (quite a few) to some of those elements, one or more of them might be stable. Problem was, the way we create them would never have enough neutrons & the only way it could happen would be by the extreme energies of a hypernova or neutron star smashup.

      • Seems to me one could think of a neutron star as a stable giant atomic nucleus…
        Add enough neutrons and toss on a couple of protons, there you go….

      • E.M.Smith on 04 January 2016 @ 12:34pm said:
        Seems to me one could think of a neutron star as a stable giant atomic nucleus…
        Add enough neutrons and toss on a couple of protons, there you go….
        You reminded me of a story called Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward about creatures that evolved on the surface of a neutron star.
        Excellent story it is!

      • Somewhere I read that the ratio among the nucleons of stable isotopes approximates the golden ratio, (1+sqrt(5))/2 = 1.618…

      • Robert of Ottawa on 04 January, 2016 @ 3:26pm said:
        They must have been very flat creatures, Mark 🙂
        Actually they were almost two dimensional because of the extreme gravity.

      • E.M.Smith
        …Add enough neutrons and toss on a couple of protons, there you go….
        Heavy helium?

    • As I understand it (from reading wikipedia), the “Island of stability” is the superheavy elements around atomic number 110-114. These elements, while not stable in the traditional sence, are much more stable than earlyer predicted. These elements have isotopes with half lifes in the range of minutes vs the elements around them which have half lifes in seconds and miliseconds.

      • What is the point of an “element” that cannot exist in the real world? It seems to me these theoreticians are carried away with their own importance, while utilising taxpayers money for no great benefit.

  3. Shouldn’t three of them be named after recent Nobel Prize Winners and planet savers Gore, Obama, and Mann?

  4. Perhaps Climate Science can steal some of their thunder by announcing new elements; Unprecedentum. Robustium. Uptrendium and Mannupium with atomic weights measured in dollars.

    • Know simultaneously has the must worthless and annoying element, although it performs a prime function in the manufacturing of BS, Mannupium , has little real value although it constantly tries to take up for more space and resources than it could justify due its unlimited egoism.

  5. I think we should give all the elements simple personal names, like Bob and Harry and Claudia. That would make high school chemistry a lot more interesting, and might advance the goal increasing the scientific literacy of all Americans. Can’t you see a lesson where the elements Ted and Patricia combine to produce the compound known as Oswald?

    • Too late, Mark.
      Little Beryl Bates cries nightly after Freddie.
      Naught Maggie Allen sings poor sappy clot.
      (Start with hydrogen and helium add some noble gases like argon and neon and you have the first 3 lines.)
      This is now showing its age.
      The competition is on, starting here and now, to replace the unknown Beryl, Freddie etc with real names from the scholastic genius set of global warming creators.

  6. I committed the periodic table of real elements to memory many years ago (I recite it occasionally to myself with rough atomic wts [for back of envelope chemical calculations] to check if my brain is still working!). It seems a little sad to see the desperation of modern scientists to make ‘discoveries’ after what would appear to be the end of the age of discovery in these fields. They indeed, are not discoveries at all. The missing elements in the 7th row were already known (as are those of the 8th, 9th and God spare us, beyond) they just have to be manufactured at enormous cost.
    Physicists are becoming more and more like musicians. The world is top heavy with them and there isn’t much novel stuff for them to do. Nearly all are ‘performance’ physicists and not ‘composers’. In music, the chromatic, quarter-tone, and a bagful of other scales, harmonies and rhythms have been exploited to the smallest cranny. Twentieth century compositions have a certain weirdness because it became tiring doing variations on the 17th to 19th century classics and they stuffed their bars with tension and cacophony too far out to resolve. The only avenue left was rock and roll/blues/jazz – the ‘peoples’ music and symphony orchestras even found themselves searching for relevance in playing the stuff.
    Somewhat ironically to me is physicists getting into string theory! Dark matter is another (moody?) aberrant composition – no longer expecting to upgrade established gravity and other theories, they look for patches for the failing (at the edges) historic physics. The new ‘work’ is not developed through experimentation but through introspection, where basically anything goes and is beyond demonstration or observation.
    They have unabashedly been spilling over and dabbling in engineering (how hard can it be?) which doesn’t suffer the frustrating limits or desperation for something to do. The fanciful, nerdy ideas from this excursion are obvious in goofy geoengineering ideas in climate science and probably other fields. The oxymoron rocket scientist is a creation of such an invasion.
    Personally, I think there is a lot of exciting stuff to be done. The fact that classic theory can’t explain mega or micro system behaviour suggests to me that a new ‘gravity’ is to be found and it will be of the Unified Field type. We just have to await some genius that never heard of post normal anything and wasn’t distracted by it.

    • I certainly can appreciate all you say, and at some level it is quite true, but in the breadth of things I believe this analysis to be far too heavy handed. There is plenty of new physics being discovered, with quite a bit of it at the interface of physics and chemistry which we call material science. From hyper lenses for visible light to metamaterials, to work done on making proper X-ray lenses, and the physics of nanomaterials. There are a lot of new, exciting physics discoveries coming out quite often. Whole new dimensions of electrical physics have opened up from the discoveries regarding superconductors, let alone the bizarre manipulations of light that have yielded all sorts of weird yet powerful addendums to the classical electromagnetism. We are poised to break out into the meson side of the universe, and there is a lot of tantalizing possibilities like low temperature fusion available there. And all that takes serious physics studies to progress us along. Heck, there is still a lot of research being done on the big unknowns about chaotic systems like wing flutter and pendulums that are -not yet- described by mathematics and which leave huge gaps in our understandings of physics; some of the researchers doing that work I personally knew.
      Physics is very, very much alive, and there is a lot we don’t know (just look at our infantile understanding of planetary formation that Kepler has blown all physical understandings of out of the water. A lot of new physics to figure out there in a system long thought solved!). And -verifying- the existence of predicted atoms isn’t bad or failures of science at all–in fact it is the opposite, it is the testing of hypotheses to see if they hold up, which is the definition of science.
      We can never paint with too big a brush, and there is so much more to solve. The old 18th and 19th and 20th century discoveries are not complete at all, and many times downright wrong interpretations of experiments, and the on going refining of all that in physics is critical to our future.

      • “The world is top heavy with them and there isn’t much novel stuff for them to do” => Physics is at an end.
        James Clark Maxwell said something very similar by the end of the 19th century. Not long after that some guys called Einstein, Heisenberg and Hubble stirred the brew a bit.

      • Ged, I grant I overstated my case and, with my last paragraph, I opened the door to go back a bit. I do indeed believe that there awaits some breakthroughs of very huge proportions. It was this article that sent me off on a hyperbolic rant. This particular stuff is approaching a ridiculous limit in my view. Paradoxically, I don’t think the work on new elements is illegitimate enquiry per se, but it should be considered workshop stuff henceforth, a demonstration of the exciting technology that permits these things to be achieved, not major discoveries as it is presented. If they composed an element that for some complex reason was stable (at least much more so than with half lives of microseconds). I suppose there will be a Nobel Prize handed out, but it should include the technical people who built the apparati for this kind of thing (an engineer?).
        My concern about ‘post normal science’, essentially coined and promoted by egghead philosophers and adopted by the hey-we-are-all-in-this-together-progressistes, puts up barriers to classical independent scientific enquiry (thinking?). We may one day have a Naomi Klein convince a majority that they weren’t consulted on the project to defund it. I’m also concerned about such things as the very equivocal ‘discovery’ of the Higgs Boson. The CERN folks were a bit ambivalent about what, if anything, was discovered. The fact that the elderly Higgs was still alive may have made it a nice post normal thing to do under the circumstances to announce it without being absolutely sure. I haven’t heard a word on it since. I hope it’s not too big to fail!!! For what it’s worth, I believe an attempt at replication will not be tried until after Higgs’s death. He was given the Nobel in any case- but they have been handing these out like Cracker Jack^TM prizes over the past 30 years or so – think Yasser Arafat, Obama, Gore, Pachauri and of course Kofi Annan who slept while a million or so Tutsis were massacred despite being alerted in advance by a UN Peace Keeper Canadian general.
        Anyway, Ged, I am a friend of science!

    • while you and Ged who also replied to you clearly have much more formal education than I it occurs to me that the elements and particles that we can create with high energy collisions sort of obscures a very central point: All of them almost instantly devolve into more familiar forms. The question is why should that be? Why doesn’t the Universe show evidence of it being sort of a floor under the tailings chute at the end of high energy collisions? Just pondering

      • The reason these elements disappear in milli or microseconds is precisely because they are unstable and can’t last. Likely in the universe, many of these elements may form with a supernova explosion but only the stable elements remain for any sensible length of time when it is over.

      • fossilsage,
        One gets the sense that our senses aren’t up to sensing what our sensors tell us is there, somewhere. Perhaps there are other dimensions beyond the four we agree upon, just a quantum shift, a phase shift away.

      • Ps fossilsage- Don’t ask me to explain it. After all, I’m the dumbest guy that I know.

      • Roha “wherefore art thou…” where ARE you dark matter? On the occasion that the young maid issued the supplication the first time she already had empirical experience testifying to existence. Romeo was not a postulate but a person!

  7. They missed a golden opportunity to name it Globalwarmium (Gw) or Climatechangium (Cc) or Colossalhoxium (Ch) or Newworldordium (Nw) or Youaslavium (Ys).

    • It is the magic mateterial that when produced in a conversation results in large supplies of money appearing in the researcher’s account!

    • Transfermium is the movement of your money, via an elaborate government transfer process, into vastly expensive & dangerous toys for boys with cosy sinecures at a university near you.

  8. It’s all very well completing the seventh row but what are we going to do about the gap in the third row if Greenpeace is successful in its campaign to ban Chlorine.

  9. Our galaxy was formed when two enormous masses became attracted to eachother, Hubble knew this, and so did Einstine, most of the galaxies we can view are moving away from each other, Andromeda and our galaxy are moving toward each other tearing each other apart, forming new stars… when it comes to new elements that last an instramental nano second and are called “heavy” the scale becomes overly complicated for no reason… on the other side of time and scale we have every thing from moons, planets and stars, do we add these too? High energy unstable anomalies are not primary elements…

  10. No sir, Don’t like synthetic non-items being designated as elements. If this is going to be the case I want my new element added which is the ghost artifacts when snapping a photo with my low shutter cellphone.

  11. Unobtainium? With all these lab-grown (Made from real Science!) elements having lifetimes measured in micro-spitty-seconds, shouldn’t they be called UnREtainiums?
    [Ouch. .mod]

  12. Why are these elements said to have been “discovered” when they had to be created artificially in a lab? That seems akin to saying that Leonardo da Vinci discovered the Mona Lisa.

    • I agree. They get a few natural elements, bash them together with big hammers, and then call it a “discovery”? And then the things fall apart in seconds because the gluons and sticky tape just aren’t strong enough.

  13. Claims of creation of these variants of Ununobtainium does not impress me! Prove it with providing a sample, any sample amount that can be independently tested will do. This might be reason for a Nobel Prize nomination.
    For now, just BS to me…pg

  14. The lightest un-natural element is Element 43, Technetium – no stable isotopes, but it shows in spectra of “technetium stars”. Produced in nuclear reactors. Enterprising scientists discovered that technetium is a remarkable corrosion inhibitor for steel.

    • Technetium is produced by bombarding Molybdenum [Mo] its neighbour, and a fission product of Uranium. It is used in medical diagnosis/imagery and apparently is a corrosion inhibitor in mild steels for special uses. Another is Promethium (At number 61), one of the rare earth elements (lanthanides). It too is produced as a Uranium fission product and by bombardment (IIRC) of Neodymium. It’s radioactivity is fairly mild in one or more of its isotopes and is used in making light emitting paints, tiny nuclear batteries, etc.

  15. Oh, dear, how can we keep up with the Periodic Table if they keep on changing it? I thought that the science was settled. Well, at least it’s good to see them applying themselves to something worthwhile and not CAGW/ ‘Climate Change’.

  16. Looks like it’ll take a while before we discern the whys and wherefores of all 144 elements.

  17. I suggest a name of new element, Uanus, as a nice ring to it. Rolls of the tongue easily and everyone will remembers

  18. Sadly had many a wasted evening talking to Bob Lazar about element 115 🙁 but hey ho. That’s just the way it goes 🙂

  19. I am not sure about the term “Discovery” ?
    Whilst the evidence remains to be publicly
    seen, these reputed elements are admittedly …..
    “super-unstable elements that only exist
    for microseconds in an atom smasher….”
    So then they are created and not discovered ?
    What use is there anyway, other than to fulfill
    some esoteric purpose, for such short lived
    creations, that exist momentarily and at such
    astronomical cost ?
    Now if they had “discovered” something like the
    fictional “Star Trek” element “Dilithium”, and it had
    the same properties as in the TV Show, then that
    really would be something to shout about !
    They may consider this an achievement of some
    significance in that it promises to complete the
    man-made jigsaw puzzle of the periodic table,
    but I am phlegmatically underwhelmed.

  20. The reason that they APPEAR to be unstable is that they only naturally exist in wormholes where the space/time continuum is distorted from our perspective. But it was well known, even millennia ago by our ancestors, that the advanced civilizations who were considered gods by our less scientific progenitors, used these unun elements in the construction and power of their intergalactic crafts. Now that we have verified the existence of these elements, our next step is to create an environment where they are stable enough to be used in the fabrication of our own space craft … an artificial wormhole. So, in three to four years or less, we can expect the return visit of these other beings who will ask us to join their fraternity of worlds.
    97% of scientists agree with this.

  21. My friend BillyBob proudly claims to have synthesized Element 121, created when he consumes large quantities of beer and pickled eggs. HIs wife says the half-life of this new Element is far too long and she has to leave the house for the entire day.

  22. If George Carlin were still around, he’d have fun with this I’m sure. Imagine a huge pile of cash in a bag brought into the laboratory. The scientist counts it, turns on the accelerator, puts in protons to slam into a uranium or some other radioactive isotope and produces a couple of atoms of Ununderwhelmium that then disappears in a few microseconds back into what they started with and then sling the bag over their shoulder walk away with the cash.

    • He may not be here in person, but he has left us a legacy
      of stand-up performances which though often a bit too bawdy
      perhaps ( in what Al Gore would call “mixed company” ),
      have a ring of truth which is difficult for alarmists to counter
      with mere scare stories. Indeed political comedy,satire,
      and ridicule are traditional weapons that can prove very
      effective against oppressive regimes, and the armies of
      the neo-psuedo-religious brainwashed dupes….
      George Carlin on Global Warming

      • One of the most brilliant men of all time, IMHO. Thanks for sharing. I miss George’s insight. Too bad we don’t have politicians like him.

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