Natural Wonders

Scientists Reveal New Elements on the Periodic Table. Could one be Named After Lemmy from Motorhead?

'Lemmium' is among the names that has been suggested as scientists' breakthrough is recognised

The recently deceased Lemmy Kilmister, frontman of Motorhead. Could Scientists be about to name an element after him? Photo: Mark Marek

Four entirely new elements have been officially recognised by science – news that will please scientists and frustrate the writers of chemistry textbooks in equal measure.

On December 30th, while the rest of the world was gearing up for its New Year’s Eve celebrations, scientists from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry were officially adding the four new ‘superheavy’ elements to the table, completing the 7th row.

The elements are as yet un-named, so naturally the internet has started chipping in with a few suggestions.

“Suggested names for the new ‘superheavy’ elements includie ‘Lemmium’ in honour of the dear departed patron saint of all heavy metal.”

One Motorhead fan, still mourning the recent death of the band’s bassist Lemmy Kilmister, suggested: “One should be named Kilminstium in honour of the dear departed patron saint of all heavy metal.”

“Or Lemmium,” another wag added.

While another said, “the densest, least stable one could be called Trumpium,” after Donald Trump.

Scientific convention means that the teams which discovered each element get to name them. Elements can apparently be named after “a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist”, according to the Guardian.

Kosuke Morita of the Japanese team pointing to the new element that his researchers will get to name. Photo: press release

The four, currently known by temporary names and their numbers (113, 115, 117 and 118) are the first new additions to the table since 2011, when the Union officially recognised elements 114 and 116.

Element 113 was apparently discovered by a team of Japanese scientists, while credit for the other three went to a joint Russian-American team. 

Superheavy elements are manmade, occurring on earth under laboratory conditions and only lasting for a fraction of a second before they decay into other elements.

But while they might not affect your day-to-day life (no one will be marketing ‘Lemmium’ engagement rings anytime soon) the news is still massively exciting for the scientific community. 

The teams responsible for the discoveries are expected to announce the real names in the coming months.

The periodic table with the recently discovered new elements added – the names of 113, 115, 117 and 118 are just temporary pending a final decision by the teams that discovered them. Illustration: iStock

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