New Periodic Table Elements Named After Japan, Moscow, Tennessee

You'll soon see four new names on the periodic table of the elements, including three that honor Moscow, Japan and Tennessee.

The names are among four recommended Wednesday by an international scientific group. The fourth is named for a Russian scientist.

Image: Periodic table of elements
The classic periodic table organizes the chemical elements according to the number of protons that each has in its atomic nucleus. Karl Tate / Live Science contributor

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, which rules on chemical element names, presented its proposal for public review. The names had been submitted by the element discoverers.

The four elements, known now by their numbers, completed the seventh row of the periodic table when the chemistry organization verified their discoveries last December.

Tennessee is the second U.S. state to be recognized with an element; California was the first. Element names can come from places, mythology, names of scientists or traits of the element. Other examples: americium, einsteinium and titanium.

Joining more familiar element names such as hydrogen, carbon and lead are:

  • Moscovium (mah-SKOH'-vee-um), symbol Mc, for element 115, and tennessine (TEH'-neh-seen), symbol Ts, for element 117. The discovery team is from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
  • Nihonium (nee-HOH'-nee-um), symbol Nh, for element 113. The element was discovered in Japan, and Nihon is one way to say the country's name in Japanese. It's the first element to be discovered in an Asian country.
  • Oganesson (OH'-gah-NEH'-sun), symbol Og, for element 118. The name honors Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian.

The public comment period will end Nov. 8.