Why is a new element named after a suburb of San Francisco?

On Saturday the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry proposed the names of two new elements. Currently element number 114 and element number 116 do not have official names in the periodic table of elements. The elements were previously known as ununquadium and ununhexium. Those long, unpronounceable words were the temporarily used systematic element names. The names are generated from their atomic number, but like most things in physics, the procedure is incomprehensible to us laypeople. If you’re curious, the guidelines are further explained in Principles of Chemical Nomenclature.

Why is there such confusion over what to call these elements? There wasn’t always such brouhaha over what to name elements. The common elements, like carbon, helium, and iron, were named for common things. Carbon referred to coal or charcoal; helium comes from the Greek word helios meaning sun; iron dates back to the Proto-Germanic meaning “heavy metal.” Unlike common elements, these newer elements were synthesized in a lab; they are not observed in nature. They are very unstable and quickly dissolve into other elements. (What exactly makes an element? It is a pure chemical substance that is distinguished by the number of protons in its nucleus. Hydrogen has 1 proton; helium has 2; and so on.)

Since these new elements were invented, so to speak, their names cannot rely on a clear lineage of vocabulary. Rather, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry must choose names for them.

For example, the IUPAC honored Pierre and Marie Curie by naming atomic element 96 curium in 1948. And just last month three new elements were christened: Darmstadtium, Roentgenium, Copernicium. Roentgenium and Copernicium were named after influential scientists, and Darmstadtium honors the town in Germany where the element was first discovered.

The proposed names for element number 114 and element number 116 are both based on the laboratories that were essential in their creation. Livermorium was first observed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, outside of San Francisco, and flerovium was created in Russia’s Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions. The Flerov Lab was named for a Russian physicist, Georgiy N. Flerov who discovered the spontaneous fission of uranium. The Livermore Labs, on the other hand, were named for the town they are located in: Livermore, California. Livermore received its name from a rancher, Robert Livermore, who immigrated to California from England in 1816. He wasn’t a physicist, but his name is now famous throughout the science community because of the lab that bears it.

Why aren’t these names official yet? The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has opened the discussion to the public for feedback. According to a press release, “The Provisional Recommendations will be made available in the very near future for Public Comment for five months and will also be sent to expert referees.”

What do you think about the proposed names? What other names should be considered?

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  1. RedLeafRenegade -  October 20, 2015 - 10:06 am

    What about chlorium and the rock it would be present in if it was in nature would be called chlorophyte.

    I so wish americium was not taken.
    What about “zimbobwaium” or Mythril or Adamantite or Neutronium or Novaium

  2. Zane -  January 9, 2012 - 7:00 am

    Great scott! They should at least wait ’til I’m a famous chemist before they go all willy-nilly naming stuff! Don’t they like the sound of “Zanium”? Huh? Eh?

  3. Ric Del -  December 19, 2011 - 9:37 pm

    I believe the names are perfect. I mean, there is really only one other option that is naming them after a person because the elements only last for up to less than a second and they take hours just to make an isolated atom of the element so I don’t see many other options

  4. DEMACIA!!!!! -  December 18, 2011 - 6:52 pm

    lol Dustin LachlanA and Bookworm all you guys have chemistry in school like me. I’ve always been wondering why they never changed the names of the three-letter symbol elements (UUQ=ununquadium), now i know. My three-year old textbook says ununquadium in it and i was wondering if they had changed the name yet. Funny that the most relevant comments are by eight graders.

  5. the guy with the face -  December 15, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    how about “nonexistium?”

  6. LachlanA -  December 11, 2011 - 6:10 pm

    FINALLY! someone, who is practically the same as me has the same opinion as me that these people are being very, very immature.
    and yes Madcom, we both referred to you.

  7. ATOM-2-Element | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  December 11, 2011 - 10:31 am

    [...] or ‘One Adam Twelve’ should be Elementary to Watson.  — It’s a Shame Tom Lehrer wasn’t Consulted. — Though Harry [...]

  8. Raymond -  December 9, 2011 - 10:21 am

    These –as all have been– should be named after the means by which they are readily-rediscoverable… by anybody… Helium wasn’t just discovered in the photospectrum of the sun– it, is always, discoverable, in the photospectrum of the sun, and by anybody anywhere the sun can be seen– which is basically everywhere for scientists on the Earth…

    So, Let’s have it (Let us, have it)… goldaluminumslammonium or aual-slammonium, tevatronium, onepointsixtevatronium … mineblastonium, administronium, sovietunium-288, unobservium-345, impossiblium-346, neversseeyouagainium-337, insanitarium-338, deepseizium-339, politiconium-340….

  9. Emoxziita Rodriguez -  December 9, 2011 - 10:18 am

    “Creating “elements” in a lab strikes of creating a baby in a test tube: is it really human?”

    Good point, particularly as they dissolve instantaneously. I’d solve the problem by having a rule that if it isn’t stable enough to exist for longer than a moment, then don’t bother naming it.

    The only that this will do is make high school science schools memorised useless stuff and cause more people to say that science isn’t relevant in the modern education system.

  10. Emoxziita Rodriguez -  December 9, 2011 - 10:17 am


  11. Chemistry Major -  December 9, 2011 - 9:58 am

    I would have mentioned this in my chemistry classes if I had the chance. It is pleasing to see my favorite lexicon website merge with the jargon of my career path.

  12. Princess Celestia -  December 9, 2011 - 9:32 am

    What about Loyalty, Generosity, Laughter, Honesty, Kindness, and Magic?

  13. TheBeatles -  December 9, 2011 - 8:43 am

    iumium would be the best.

  14. -TROUBLETIME- -  December 9, 2011 - 7:54 am

    how about naming them mordinium, sibelonium, kristellanium, and lordanium.

  15. Jonathan -  December 9, 2011 - 7:52 am

    What about loranium, mordinium, circilium , and kristellanit

  16. Radiance -  December 9, 2011 - 7:42 am

    Well, there’s always “Unobtainium”.

  17. Emoxziita Rodriguez -  December 9, 2011 - 7:12 am


  18. SK -  December 9, 2011 - 6:46 am

    The Bookworm’s tip is great to bear in mind!

  19. SK -  December 9, 2011 - 6:45 am

    woww, it’s really very interesting!!
    i don’t understand nothing about chemist, hehe. But i enjoyed so much! i read some comments and i liked Bookworm and Dustin’s comments.


    They need to have the “unun”’s because without them, it changes the meaning of the name. “Ununquadium” means “one one five”, or one-hundred five. “Ununhexium” means “one one six”, or one-hundred six. If it was just “quadium”, it would mean five, which is boron, and if it was just “hexium”, it would be six, which is carbon.

    Good explanation!


    I’m surprised many of these comments are so immaturely phobic of knowledge. (Yes, I’m talking to you “Madcom”). I’m in eighth grade and I find the elements and their naming very relevant and interesting. While I know not everyone may have the same passion for chemistry as I do, but to naively label something as boring because it has a word or two that you may not be able to pronounce is ridiculous. I’m hoping that these people are still children or adolescents and have a chance to grow up a bit.

    It’s important to consider!!

  20. UnUnPentium-Nerd -  December 9, 2011 - 5:33 am

    I like the names and the symbolism behind them so i think they should stay the same.

  21. MENTORC -  December 9, 2011 - 5:19 am

    what does these two ELEMENTS means to us all, i didn’t found it very EASY to understand, can someone pls more about this ELEMENTS to me

  22. ghulam nabi -  December 9, 2011 - 2:28 am

    I would like to named these elements on the basis of the names of those chemists who discovered them rather than on the basis of lab names

  23. zek -  December 9, 2011 - 1:53 am

    how about we leave the science to the scientists and just never say anything about this again to avoid the embarrassment of not knowing anything about what youre posting

  24. zek -  December 9, 2011 - 1:50 am

    you idiots.

    you cant name an element after its characteristics if it splits apart in less than a second! they cant gather data in so short an amount of time and even if they could, they probably cant produce more than a few atoms! what do you want to call it? explosium?? i think not..

    and the morons that think that removing the “unun” clearly dont know anything about.. gee language i guess. the ununhexium literally means “116th element” if you remove the “unun” it becomes “6th element”


  25. chemist grace -  December 9, 2011 - 1:24 am

    im a chemist and i was really having fun with you guys writing in here!! salute to @hellboy and to everyone who were saying positive comments! i have learned a lot also! to those who were saying negative things, have a time to read your chem books!! Chemistry is the central science and there will be no everything in this world without chem!

  26. David -  December 8, 2011 - 9:40 pm

    o.k. So if you found this article boring I have two questions: 1) Why did you read the article 2) Would you have found the article boring if the element was named after YOU? I didn’t think so.

  27. M. Gul -  December 8, 2011 - 7:36 pm

    I think the best way of naming is to name them after the discoverer or place of discovery but the name should be short nd pronouncable, easy to remember.

  28. Stupid Smart kid -  December 8, 2011 - 6:26 pm

    hellllllo how about we take out the “ium” from the end. quad and hex sound great now don’t they?

    and enough with explaining the “unun”s. its completely boring and annoyying.
    so fellow homosapiens, how about we appreciate the world and just forget about unun’s and ium’s.
    peace squirrels

  29. Dr. Element -  December 8, 2011 - 6:07 pm

    Ha ha. Very funny. Make it more interesting!

  30. Alice -  December 8, 2011 - 5:13 pm

    About the elements’ names, I thought I’d mention that the Un- prefix is Greek whereas the bi-, trin-, quad-, pent-, hex-, sept-, oct-, and non- prefixes are Latin.

  31. yunus berk -  December 8, 2011 - 5:04 pm

    i am a turkish. did u know that. i love elements. i am a geek. everybody says that. my girlfriend victoria said that too. i love elements. I am a fan of einstein.

  32. Victoria Stevens -  December 8, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    i think this element thing is really nerdy anyone who agrees with me comment duh right now ^^

  33. Anonymous... duh -  December 8, 2011 - 4:58 pm

    San francisco? i luv san franny! i live there peeps! :P

  34. Alfred -  December 8, 2011 - 4:40 pm

    Why do they need names at all? Atomic numbers are pretty specific. Just call them “114″ and “116″!

  35. Tashika -  December 8, 2011 - 4:14 pm

    Okay people listen up:

    1. There’s been at least 50 people that have explained that the “unun” is vital to the name. We get it, we’re not stupid, stop repeating it.

    2. As for the ten or so people who are oblivious enough to keep suggesting we take off the “unun,” shut up.

    3. Let’s make some actual progress here–I personally don’t mind some of the elements being named after scientists because they did make some valuable contributions, especially the Curies, but we also don’t need twenty elements with people’s names because they’ll be too hard to keep straight. Naming elements after places works the same way, but other than giving said people and places credit and/or bragging rights, I see no point in doing so. Those should definitely be named for some sort of characteristic. On the other hand, many elements are hard to differentiate and it would be difficult to give them a name based on a unique characteristic. After all, you’ve only just discovered it and know little to nothing about it that’s not extremely similar to other elements.

    4. My suggestion is to stick with the names “Ununquadium” and “Ununhexium” until something truly and significantly unique about the element is found, then base the name off that. It would take some time, and probably need a massive amount of testing and applications to see how the element responds, but waiting isn’t too much to ask considering how long Ununquadium and Ununhexium have had those names as it is.

    5. What do you think? Let’s do this Socratic style

  36. Aspiring Chemist -  December 8, 2011 - 3:56 pm

    They should totally name element 117 Spartanium or (if you know your chem name rules) Idiotine

  37. science nerd -  December 8, 2011 - 3:42 pm

    i am 13 and this is a very interesting thing about the elements. anyone who disagrees is wrong.

  38. Bookworm -  December 8, 2011 - 2:43 pm

    Seriously people, if you don’t find this interesting, why did you click the link in the first place? I am in eighth grade, and I totally enjoy this! Some of us actually enjoy school and chemistry.

    For those who believe elements are not important, wake up! Without elements, you wouldn’t be alive.

    Also, I have made a mistake: “ununquadium” means “one-one-four”, not “one-one-five”…. I’m sorry for that mistake! D:

    @ 1Basuca:

    Yes, the Latin word for iron is “ferrous”. :)

  39. Bookworm -  December 8, 2011 - 2:36 pm

    @ science is EPIC don’t insult my name:

    I totally agree!!! I aboslutely love science and learning. :D

  40. Anemos -  December 8, 2011 - 2:27 pm

    Eka-lead and eka-polonium. Just like the “old dead guys”, whom my chemistry teacher constantly refers to, did. I think it was Mendeleev who decided on the naming of eka-silicon, now called germanium.

  41. Brian Khomsi -  December 8, 2011 - 1:45 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity of voting

  42. Brian Khomsi -  December 8, 2011 - 1:43 pm

    I like the choices of naming them:
    Quadium” and “hexium.
    I am taking Chemistry next semester, can’t I get a break

  43. Tushar -  December 8, 2011 - 1:33 pm

    Hydrogen gets burns——O2 helps h2 in burning—-when they combine together they extinguise by transforming temselves as H2O.

    H2 and O2 the most imp. element in P.Tables.

  44. Cyberquill -  December 8, 2011 - 12:42 pm

    If shortening those names to “quadium” and “hexium” is scientifically indefensible, then let’s call them “quidium” and “hoxium.” These words mean nothing, and therefore they’re not wrong.

  45. Chemical Engineering Chick -  December 8, 2011 - 12:31 pm

    @ nick – biology=chemistry=physics=everything. If I’ve learned something in college, it’s that everything is the same. If you are interested in what I mean, you should look into taking some advanced physics (electron wells, etc – or quantum physics if you’re up for it) and math (differential equations is a fun one). You’ll enjoy it!

    I like the idea of naming after their transience: something like “ephemerium” or similar. But if that’s set precedent, then these two and every element in the future (likely) will mean the same thing.

    I say stick to the classics: the element’s origin (either who, where, maybe how – that could make for an interesting meaning).

  46. Geek-Grrl -  December 8, 2011 - 12:04 pm

    This is fantastic, thank you for running this article, it’s very interesting to know the linguistic background to scientific terminology.

  47. Vikhaari -  December 8, 2011 - 11:57 am

    So helarious some comments! Can’t stop loughing. Love them though how a very serious scientific topic can be so light and delightfully “funny”….

    Like many I agree with Lakhmi. I think 114 & 116 should be kept because of their elemental properties and easy to remember names. And in todays modernity we should be better and bolder to know, learn, and understand things to progression and not o be afraid of even exotic pronunciation; otherwise, it would be sily. Also it is absurd, perhaps, to think that among other galaxy and universe are made up of elements–what about us!, we, humans too, you know!

    Now, should we need to change and give new name/s to new volatile elements. I would prefer them to be after the creater/scientist that has/have discovered and then worked on it especially this new artificial/manmade ones than of a distant someone’s of time and space without havingany knowledge in science, perhaps.

  48. hi -  December 8, 2011 - 11:40 am

    @ Joe:
    Did you really have to post all that? You’re not making much sense at all.

  49. Rustgold -  December 8, 2011 - 11:35 am

    Quote : bholland on December 7, 2011 at 9:40 am
    “Creating “elements” in a lab strikes of creating a baby in a test tube: is it really human?”

    Good point, particularly as they dissolve instantaneously. I’d solve the problem by having a rule that if it isn’t stable enough to exist for longer than a moment, then don’t bother naming it.

    The only that this will do is make high school science schools memorised useless stuff and cause more people to say that science isn’t relevant in the modern education system.

  50. 1Basuca -  December 8, 2011 - 10:53 am

    Iron is actually the common name given to Ferrum. Hence the Fe symbol in the periodic table.The word, I believe, originates from Latin.

  51. Sue -  December 8, 2011 - 10:40 am

    I guess the original article wasn’t clear. When a new element, like ununquadium is first synthesized, it is given a latin name as a placeholder, until it is confirmed that it was synthesized, and decided who gets the honor of naming the element (usually the lab that synthesized it). Copernicium was called ununbium until last year. So if you don’t like ununquadium, don’t worry, it won’t be around long (pun intended).

  52. Alias -  December 8, 2011 - 9:40 am

    what about “debroglium” and “dominicium”

  53. John -  December 8, 2011 - 9:36 am

    why not benladenium or scientologium or Qaddafium

  54. mad hater -  December 8, 2011 - 9:32 am

    i agree with christ almighty this incredibly boring

  55. Ben Curtis -  December 8, 2011 - 8:49 am

    Sure, “carbon” and “iron” have names that date back to antiquity, but “helium” is new — or newish. Like “hydrogen” (“water gas”) it is a simple element but wasn’t discovered until the 19th century. Helium (“sun metal”) was discovered by looking at the lines in the spectrum of the sun’s light before it was found on Earth. That’s why it’s a gas, but it’s named like a metal — when seen on the sun, no one could tell what it was, they just knew it was there.

  56. flor -  December 8, 2011 - 8:34 am

    Its is so ridiculous to try to name elements by the place they were discovered. I agree with those who already stated this “ELEMENTS NAMES SHOULD BE INDICATIVE OF SOME KIND OF PROPERTY OF THE ELEMENT”. Using absolutely anything that deals with the elements, even if not that significant, is way better than just naming them by where/who discovered them. Come on International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Don’t you have better brains on your shoulders to not be more creative with the naming?

  57. nick -  December 8, 2011 - 8:17 am

    “like most things in physics”… but this is chemistry not physics

  58. arakai -  December 8, 2011 - 6:55 am

    How about Muhammedium and Friedchickenium? I am pretty sure I just won.

  59. RachelAllison -  December 8, 2011 - 6:16 am

    I agree with Cyberquill as well….. quadium and hexium is easy enough to remember, I should think.

  60. Liza with a Z -  December 8, 2011 - 5:50 am

    Tom Lehre did a wonderful, catchy song about the elements. It’s short, but it’s quick (set to “Major General” from Pirates of Penzance) If you want to see all the elements, this is the best site http://www.privatehand.com/flash/elements.html

  61. plum -  December 8, 2011 - 5:37 am

    To sort-of answer to both Cyberquill and Lakshmi’s points, ununquadium and ununhexium literally translated mean 114-ium and 116-ium, so they are sort of named after their properties anyway, and calling them quadium or hexium would be like calling them 4-ium or 6-ium. At least the longer words make slightly more sense.

    That’s not to say that they couldn’t or shouldn’t have more interesting or meaningful names, the names ununquadium and ununhexium, whilst not being terribly difficult to remember or pronounce can present a challenge at first glace, and re-naming them something simpler and more symbolic might be a great thing to do to get more people to remember them.

    Speaking practically though, there are very few situations in which you’d need to use either word, so really I think it’s got to be down to the scientists who actually use them on a more regular basis.

  62. RickyP -  December 8, 2011 - 4:46 am

    How about “alium” and “goreum” to honor the Nobel Laureate Al Gore?

  63. LooseFroot -  December 8, 2011 - 3:54 am

    I agree with Cyberquill. Why not simply drop the “unun?” I mean, c’mon! “Quadium” and “hexium” sound like great names.

  64. Quinn Bartlett -  December 8, 2011 - 2:31 am

    @Cyberquill the “unun” refers to the 11, “quad” is simply 4
    So “ununquadium” = 114
    So quadium would have 4 protons, aka Berylium

    @Lakshmi These elements can only exist for a couple thousandths of a second at the most, so they don’t have any observable properties

  65. cs_szabo -  December 8, 2011 - 1:43 am

    Flerov, definitely. But his name should be rather spelt as Flyorov, according to its right pronunciation. But it would be even harder to pronunciate for a native English speaker.

  66. Hydrogen -  December 8, 2011 - 12:43 am

    Helium is my brother.

  67. dumvivamus -  December 7, 2011 - 11:38 pm

    how bout, “blowupium” or “dumvivamusium”. the last being obscurely latin enough to refer to the short but volatile life of these elements; candles that burn millionths as long but millions of times brighter, burning out instead of fading away, bust instead of rust, mere teens in the lifespan of elements, loving hard losing fast.

  68. Dubee -  December 7, 2011 - 11:24 pm


    Quadium might mean atomic number 4, and hexium, 6. Un-un-quad-ium and un-un-hex-ium might mean 1-1-4-[suffix for elements(?)] and 1-1-6-suffix respectively. It’s just my guess, since there’s got to be some kind of pattern for naming them as such. So based on this, the scientific community may not want to drop the un-uns.

    Regarding the topic’s main question, I’m fine with the suggested names. Property-based names can be used as common names, in my opinion. Aurum’s common name was gold, before it became obsolete.

    I just have an extra question. Why make new elements? I like Madom’s proposal, notsoveryrelevantium somehow fascinating because I am so curious about the uses of elements on the lower part of the periodic table. I don’t even hear them being used that much. I guess I’m not reading enough? Hehe. It would be great to know what we use these elements for. Gives us something more to repress down the iceberg. :D

  69. Erin Smith -  December 7, 2011 - 10:59 pm

    As exciting as those unpronounceable element names sound,(Darmstadtium, Roentgenium, Copernicium. Really?) I would stick to the person who said to just drop the unun and call them quadium and hexium. Couldn’t get any easier than that.

  70. Love in W -  December 7, 2011 - 10:41 pm


    Remember the words quadruple, quadrant, etc. and what they mean? What does “quad” mean?
    How about hexagon? What does the “hex” mean?
    And unicycle, un (in French, e.g.)

    And what could be the relation between 114 and116 and these root words be?

    Ununquadrium is one one four (or maybe one hundred ten four.)
    Ununhexium is therefore one one six (one hundred ten six.)
    All I know in Greek are the roots of some common words–this is where we got them from–and the Latin is derived from there as well and, e.g. the French numbers are derived from Latin: un/une. quatre, six (unum, quattour, sex.)

  71. Rereke Whakaaro -  December 7, 2011 - 10:21 pm

    “Why not simply drop the “unun” and call them quadium and hexium?”

    Because it is Latin. Un is one in Latin. Quad is four and Hex is six.

    So Ununquadium means One-one-four-”ium” – the elements atomic number.

    You can figure out the rest.

  72. Chantal -  December 7, 2011 - 10:08 pm

    Very funny, Madcom. So funny it made me forget to laugh.

  73. Hamachisn't -  December 7, 2011 - 9:52 pm

    In reply to Cyberquill, about dropping the “unun” and calling them, instead, quadium and hexium:

    Quadium would be element #4 and hexium would be element #6. Those are already named Beryllium and Carbon, respectively. The “unun” refers to the 11 in their atomic numbers: 114 and 116.


  74. Capthaeth -  December 7, 2011 - 9:49 pm


  75. ankit jain -  December 7, 2011 - 9:20 pm

    i like this site because he is improve knowledge

  76. shar -  December 7, 2011 - 8:45 pm

    madame Curie!

  77. Book Worm :) -  December 7, 2011 - 8:18 pm

    This very interesting stuff!! Listen people!! I’m with Cyberquil – drop the unun.

  78. c -  December 7, 2011 - 8:16 pm

    I don’t think these elements are “cheating.” Although they don’t exist here on Earth, they may be found naturally in universe under specific conditions.

  79. Dustin -  December 7, 2011 - 7:56 pm

    Grammatical error in my last comment, take out the “While” in my third sentence.

  80. Dustin -  December 7, 2011 - 7:54 pm

    I’m surprised many of these comments are so immaturely phobic of knowledge. (Yes, I’m talking to you “Madcom”). I’m in eighth grade and I find the elements and their naming very relevant and interesting. While I know not everyone may have the same passion for chemistry as I do, but to naively label something as boring because it has a word or two that you may not be able to pronounce is ridiculous. I’m hoping that these people are still children or adolescents and have a chance to grow up a bit.

  81. LachlanA -  December 7, 2011 - 7:44 pm

    @whomever may call this article ‘boring’.
    it may not appeal to you, and if you hated/hate chemistry then why did you choose to read something titled “Why is a new element named after a suburb of San Francisco?” im 14 and LOVE chemistry with a passion knowing all elements electron configuration (at least the ones that are known), attomic weight, attomic number, isotopes, and names (obviously), so an article like this was VERY interesting, albeit now i have to replace names with newer names…
    oh also they can’t just be called “Hexium” instead of Ununhexium because Ununhexium is derived from 116 and hexium derives from 6.
    “Madcom” when you said ‘borington’ there is an element with a similar name “bohrium” (number 107). just thought I would mention that just for giggles.

  82. zac -  December 7, 2011 - 7:00 pm

    how about unstablium?

  83. Sami -  December 7, 2011 - 6:27 pm

    this article was very boring why not name them 114 and 116? that would make life so much easier

  84. SciPro -  December 7, 2011 - 6:13 pm


    The target audience of this site probably don’t have a background in science, and maybe not even language (considering they don’t know the definition of a word to come here)

    What im trying to say is, the author “dumbed” it down so that everyone, including trolls like you, could understand.

  85. Justin -  December 7, 2011 - 6:10 pm

    It should be named Justinium, after the person who named it (me).

  86. David GG -  December 7, 2011 - 6:09 pm

    i have to admit thes are some frikin’ hard ass words to read but i agree with Cyberquill to drop the “unum”

  87. Justin -  December 7, 2011 - 6:08 pm

    @bholland lol…are any elements really human?

  88. John the idiot -  December 7, 2011 - 5:58 pm


  89. Ambiguous User -  December 7, 2011 - 5:51 pm

    Thank you for writing this fascinating article. I needed a refreshing take on this stuff.

    That guy who commented saying it’s unimportant is wrong! Without uranium in the world, for instance, the dinosaurs may still have been roaming the earth (underground uranium deposits, maybe?), or the Axis powers have taken over the Earth! Many other stories and accounts can be made to defend the knowledge of the heavier-than-iodine elements.

    Also, I Also think it is a beauty to use ‘dissolve’. Transform is another good word. Some physicists Even use the word ‘destroy’ too rather!: “The X element atom is destroyed, creating element atom Y, plus some particle and wave radiation, and kinetic energy.”

  90. science is EPIC don't insult my name -  December 7, 2011 - 5:35 pm

    i agree with deepak and a teacher……. i didn’t even get close 2 screaming

  91. Carbonated Chocolate Cake -  December 7, 2011 - 5:31 pm

    @Lakshmi thanks! it would be so much easier! I never thought of that. I heard from someone that the government should just put chips in our brains so we already have the info.Lol, i thought that would be very creative…and COOLSOME!

  92. Sue -  December 7, 2011 - 5:27 pm

    Unfortunately, the “un-un” is essential in the names. Each “un” stands for one of the “1″s in the atomic number (think of “Uno”). Calling the chemical “quadium” is equivalent to calling it “four-ium” instead of “one-one-four-ium” (un-un-quad-ium”). Not so hard to pronounce after all.

    And, also unfortunately, since these elements are synthesized in the lab, and aren’t stable (most only exist a few seconds), not much is known about their properties, especially properties that they could be named after, and that could distinguish them from other elements not yet discovered. There is a theory, though, that elements with even higher atomic numbers (not yet discovered) may be more stable, with half-lives of minutes or days, instead of seconds, which is one of the reasons so many labs are interested in generating these elements.

    I found this article very interesting, and think it is cool that we are now naming elements after locations that have themselves been named after someone. I’m sure rancher Robert Livermore never dreamed an element might someday bear his name.

  93. Nshera -  December 7, 2011 - 5:24 pm

    I would love to have a suburb named after me!!!!!! :) :) :) :)

  94. Logistics -  December 7, 2011 - 5:11 pm

    whats with the “unun”

  95. Vanessa -  December 7, 2011 - 4:40 pm

    @Madcom: HAHAHAHAHA

  96. xyz -  December 7, 2011 - 4:31 pm

    First off i would like to let Cyberquill and Mr.D to know that the word “unum” stands for one one, i believe. i.e: one one four or the atomic number of ununquadium: 114 gave it its temporary name. I also a gree with Lakshmi in that the names of these elements should be named for their chemical properties so it will be easier for us students to remember.

    p.s. you other guys should really show at least SOME respect here by not commenting at all if the article bored you. the question wasn’t whether this article bored you or if you didn’t think it was interesting. they asked us if they liked the names, or if we didn’t, to suggest new ones.

  97. HAK -  December 7, 2011 - 4:26 pm

    Name them Pikachu and Charmander

  98. random guy -  December 7, 2011 - 4:21 pm

    The reason they will not delete the “unun” because quadium is Beryllium and hexium is Carbon.

  99. science is EPIC don't insult my name -  December 7, 2011 - 4:11 pm

    I LUV SCIENCE :3 and I’m 10 o3o oh and madcom if there was no elements there would be no earth cuz hydrogen and helium make stars and galaxies oh and read this ———->3: sıɥʇ buıpɐǝɹ ʎɹʇ puɐ ʎpoq ɹn uı (uoɹı ǝʞıן) sʇuǝɯǝןǝ sǝɹǝɥʇ ʇɔɐɟ uı ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡buıɹoq ʇou ǝɹɐ sʇuǝɯǝןǝ

  100. Bookworm -  December 7, 2011 - 4:09 pm

    @ Cyberquill:

    They need to have the “unun”‘s because without them, it changes the meaning of the name. “Ununquadium” means “one one five”, or one-hundred five. “Ununhexium” means “one one six”, or one-hundred six. If it was just “quadium”, it would mean five, which is boron, and if it was just “hexium”, it would be six, which is carbon.

    That’s why they need the “unun”.

    @ Madcom:

    Elements are very important to the world; indeed, they make up everyday objects. There would be no computers or airplanes or ships or even people without elements, so perhaps you should think twice before saying that elements aren’t important.

    And finally:

    @ Lakshmi:

    That’s a great idea. It would definitely help students remember! :D

  101. Dr.Chemist -  December 7, 2011 - 4:05 pm

    The naming of elements is important. Although these elements are not observed outside of a laboratory setting, naming them after the place they were discovered is not a new phenomenon (Californium and Berkelium). It is a privilege to be in a place that has synthesized a new element.
    FYI: The unun is the prefix for 11 in element number 114 and 116. If the unun was removed then all that would be left is quadium and hexium which means only 4 and 6 so the names are not descriptive enough.

  102. Alice -  December 7, 2011 - 4:02 pm

    Dropping the Unun prefix is a great idea as it would clear confusion between the elements beginning with 110 (UUU). Is there an upward limit to the periodic table? Also, I think that, with all respect to their work, scientists are becoming overly selfish in demanding that elements be named after them (cough, cough, Mr. Seaborg who has the element Seaborgium named for him…) as Lakshmi mentioned, the elements should be named for their properties. It’s only right.

  103. lolo123 -  December 7, 2011 - 3:47 pm

    This is very interesting one that there are more elements, two that they trying to name them and these maybe something that people in everyday life may want to bring reference to but they can’t pronounce it.

  104. Mrs. Tvia -  December 7, 2011 - 3:45 pm

    wow very interesting. I would very like to learn more.

  105. Mrs. Tvia -  December 7, 2011 - 3:45 pm

    wow, very interesting. i would very much like to learn more

  106. anonymous -  December 7, 2011 - 3:12 pm

    Oh, and Madcom you are completely wrong. Elements are the MOST important things in the world because they are not just in everything, but they ARE everything, including you and me. I would say that is relevant enough. But I get what you are saying. Why do you need to know about this? Well, if it’s so boring, then why did you click on the link to it on the front page?

  107. anonymous -  December 7, 2011 - 3:07 pm

    You can’t drop the unun because it is part of the name that means “11″ as in 114 (ununquadium) or 116 (ununhexium). Quadium and Hexium would be completely different elements that already have names. Also, you can’t name a very heavy element after one of it’s uses because it doesn’t have any yet. Most of the heavier elements only exist for a fraction of a second and are extremely hard to produce.

  108. Sameena Ahmed -  December 7, 2011 - 2:13 pm

    @Madcom : Your comment was so funny that I just had to compliment you :-).

  109. Dr. Davis -  December 7, 2011 - 2:11 pm

    I say the new elements are named after some characteristic or behavior of the elements. It will make it much easier for us students to remember the element’s name and their behavior. Why the heck would we care about where they were invented?? It will make life easier if they named the elements according to their behavior!

  110. Hellboy Shibboleth Funkenstein -  December 7, 2011 - 1:43 pm

    @Cyberquill and Mr. D:

    Without the unun, scientists and laypeople wouldn’t know which elements they were referring to. Well, actually, they would. Quadium would correspond to element 4 and Hexium would correspond to element 6. Both already have names: Beryllium and Carbon.

    The elements that have yet to be created/discovered are assigned a name based on their atomic number, using a table of prefixes that correspond to a one-digit number, and that end in the suffix -ium. The un- prefix is one. The quad- prefix is four. Therefore, element 114 is ununquadium (1+1+4) and element 116 is ununhexium (1+1+6). If scientists were ever able to synthesize element 444, it would be called quadquadquadium until they figured out something easier to call it.

    A list of the prefixes can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systematic_element_name

    Hope this helps. Cheers!

  111. Zontar -  December 7, 2011 - 1:24 pm

    A buddy of mine who taught Chemistry came up with what I think would be a good idea for introducing new elements to the Periodic Table. You say you’ve discovered a new element? Cool. Bring us one pound of it. Put it on the table over there, and leave your name and phone number at the front desk. We’ll get back with you. And if it can only be found in one of rings of Saturn, forgeddaboudit.

  112. aedwards -  December 7, 2011 - 1:14 pm

    Whatever they name these elements their names should depict the fact that they are unreal and not natural elements of the universe. Please don’t confuse future generations with such thing as man made, unnatural elements.

  113. sherryyu -  December 7, 2011 - 12:58 pm

    wat a good article i also argee with Cyberquill

  114. Mr. D [A.K.A] Elysian -  December 7, 2011 - 11:37 am

    I’d like to start by saying @Cyberquill I enjoy reading your comments, also i agree with Cyberquill just drop then Unun lol. . .

  115. Svenjamin -  December 7, 2011 - 9:45 am

    Is it Flerov, ot Ferlov? Flerov, I suspect. Seems that the new names should be chosen based on some hint of the elements use or composition and not for the lab in which they were 1st manufactured. Also, I think that to suggest that some of the elements are unpronounceable is preposterous! That gives people an excuse to not even try. The American people could be an intelligent group if our thoughts weren’t so dilluted by the internet, cable TV , video games, and computer crutches that do all of our thinking for us.

  116. bholland -  December 7, 2011 - 9:40 am

    Creating “elements” in a lab strikes of creating a baby in a test tube: is it really human?

  117. Lian -  December 7, 2011 - 8:56 am

    For a linguist who may not have chemistry or physics background, it is a beauty to use “dissolve” in this sentence : “They are very unstable and quickly dissolve into other elements.” in your second paragraph.

    A chemist or physicist may use a different word, “decompose” or “decay”, maybe?

  118. A teacher -  December 7, 2011 - 7:22 am

    This is more than enough to mak any one scream.

  119. Lakshmi -  December 7, 2011 - 7:14 am

    How about naming the elements (114 & 116) based on their properties, it would make more sense to the students and would be easier to remember.

  120. Rathin Dasgupta -  December 7, 2011 - 6:34 am

    I like the two names.

  121. Cyberquill -  December 7, 2011 - 4:51 am

    Why not simply drop the “unun” and call them quadium and hexium?

  122. Madcom -  December 6, 2011 - 3:22 pm

    What about:

    Yawnium, Boringium, Notsoveryrelevantium, Obscurium—because of the very unimportance of the elements to the world … OR

    Madium or Crazium—because they are so unstable …


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