The Periodic Table Is Getting Some New Names
And Tennessee finally has an element to call its own
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2016 2:27 PM CDT

(Newser) – Sorry, chemistry students, you've got four new names on the periodic table to memorize. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry announced names for the four newest elements on Wednesday, Nature reports. Those names: nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts), and oganesson (Og). According to the Guardian, elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 were added to the table after their discoveries were verified in December. Until now they'd been known by the Latin words for their atomic numbers: ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium, and ununoctium. So their new names are a little more interesting, at least. The new additions are all artificial elements, meaning they were created by—in Nature's words—"smashing lighter atomic nuclei together."

The new elements were named by the laboratories in the US, Japan, and Russia that discovered them. Elements can be named after scientists, mythology, places, or their traits. The new elements are named for Moscow, Tennessee, Nihon (one way of saying "Japan" in Japanese), and 83-year-old Russian scientist Yuri Oganessian. Oganesson is only the second element to be named after a living scientist. While the names aren't final until five months of public comment, the Royal Society of Chemistry—which predicted three out of the four names—"can't see too much objection to any of them." The last additions to the periodic table were in 2011, New Scientist reports.