If You Don't Like the Names of These New Elements, Now's the Time to Complain

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Flerovium and livermorium have a nice ring, yeah? Chemistry's governing body thinks so and wants to name two new elements with them. If you disagree, you've only got five months to come up with something better.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, a union of chemists that maintains the periodic table and vets potential new additions to it, has proposed naming recently-discovered elements 114 and 116 flerovium and livermorium, respectively. Now, the names undergo a five month comment period wherein any member of the public can suggest alternatives—that includes you.

These super-heavy elements are so large and so unstable that they can only be manufactured in labs and rapidly degrade into other elements. Both were actually discovered a decade ago but their existence has been undergoing independent verification since then. They were created by a collaboration of researchers from Lawrence Livermore Labs and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia.


Livermorium is named after the Livermore lab where it was created while flerovium bears the name of Georgi N. Flerov, the founder of the Dubna lab. If the names pass muster by next May, flerovium and livermorium will join three other recently-named elements—darmstadtium (Ds), roentgenium (Rg) and copernicium (Cn)—at the bottom of the elemental table. [New York Times - Live Science - image: Jezper / Shutterstock]