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International body names element 113 'Nihonium'

Jun. 20, 2016
Updated: Jan. 4, 2017

Prof. Kosuke Morita

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), which oversees the naming of additions to the periodic table, announced on June 8, 2016 that element number 113 would carry the name 'Nihonium' and be abbreviated Nh. Names were also announced for elements 115, 117, and 118.

'Nihon' and 'Nippon' refer to Japan, and hence the new name marks a point of pride for the country where the element was discovered.

"It is really exciting for Japanese school children to see how the nation's scientists have contributed to the table of elements," says Professor Kosuke Morita whose team made the finding. He is a professor of Kyushu University's Faculty of Science and director of the Research Group for Superheavy Elements at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator Based Science.

"I anticipate that this naming will inspire more Japanese children to become scientists and engineers," adds Professor Morita.

After a five-month public comment period, IUPAC announced that Nihonium and Nh were formally approved on November 30, 2016.

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