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Name that element, part 2

By Michael Banks

Last year, we asked readers to submit their best names for element 112, which was discovered in 1996 by Sigurd Hofmann and his group at the Centre for Heavy Ion Research (GSI in Darmstadt, Germany.

The responses ranged from Unobtanium, Collossium and Planckium to Fibonaccium (which was my favourite).

Now, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC, which develops standards for naming new elements and compounds, may be looking for a name for element 114 after researchers at GSI observed 13 atoms of Ununquadium.

Ununquadium was first synthesized in 1999 when Sergey Dimitriev and his team at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, claimed to have produced a handful of atoms.

IUPAC states that the production of any new element must be independently verified at another lab first before it can be officially recognized. That happened at the GSI lab last month as well as at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US, which produced two atoms of element 114 in September last year.

IUPAC has not yet officially recognized the element, but when it does it will invite the team in Dubna to submit a name. IUPAC will then publish the name on its website, giving scientists and the public six months to scrutinize and comment on it.

After all the suggestions Hofmann received last year for element 112 he submitted Copernicium, in honour of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. The IUPAC then approved the name and gave it the symbol Cn.

So, readers, what are your suggestions for element 114?

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  1. Bee

    I suggest they sell the name to the highest bidder and donate the money to the next linear collider (or some other physics project they are fond of). We might end up with Mercedium or maybe Googleum, but who cares (as in: how many people will ever use the name anyway).

  2. Rafael Lima

    I agree with Bee, although the donation does not need to be to a physics project. It go to, for example, a fund for developing science in poor countries.
    Although, I would apreciate if they used “Diracium”.

  3. Mike Todd

    Given the way I found this article it should be Twitterium or Tweetium, although perhaps that should be reserved for element 140? ; )

  4. Oo, Fibonaccium is good, but perhaps should be reserved for a Fibonacci number… alas, the next one isn’t until 144.
    I like the trend of using scientists’ names, though. Diracium, Planckium, Feynmium…

  5. Steve A.

    Emilidium for Emilie du Chatelet.

  6. phillgg

    As the Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, claimed to have produced a “handful of atoms” might I suggest manuium.
    Anyway is a handful a useful quantitative measurement? Whatever next – a “hatful” of collisions produced by the new particle accelerator?

  7. Vivek

    oooh,Names are fascinating ones to rememeber the element.
    Proquadium is good isn’t it.
    Ununquadium is the element with the highest number of protons yet discovered.

  8. Nielprekash Soekhoe

    How about “Darwinium”.

  9. Cormac Donnelly

    how about Riessium?

  10. steve

    Something simple. I submit the name “Hartonium”.

  11. Kate Mccarthy



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