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Flerovium and livermorium suggested as two new element names

The lower-right end of the periodic table, where all the super-heavy artificial elements reside, is soon to be graced by two new names. Elements 114 and 116 should be called flerovium (Fl) and livermorium (Lv), chemistry’s governing body, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), proposed on Thursday. IUPAC is allowing five months for public comment on the suggestions, but these names are very likely to be confirmed next May.

Livermorium is named for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, and flerovium for Georgi Flerov, the founder of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. (Dubnium was already taken — it’s element 105).

Element 114 was first reported almost thirteen years ago by the Dubna team, who fired calcium-48 ions into plutonium targets to (briefly) fuse nuclei together. The same group was also first to report element 116 11 years ago, this time firing calcium into curium. Further confirmatory experiments followed, but it was not until June of this year that IUPAC accepted the elements had been created, giving credit jointly to scientists at Dubna and at Lawrence Livermore.

The last addition to the table was element 112, Copernicium (Cn). IUPAC still doesn’t think that there’s enough evidence to accept that elements 113, 115 and 118 have been discovered.