New element in periodic table to be named after TIAS Faculty Fellow

man in front of drying board with atomic numbers written on it

Image: College of Science

The world’s governing body for chemistry, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), has proposed naming a new element after Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian, a Faculty Fellow with the Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS), Class of 2014-15.

Under the proposal from IUPAC, the new element with the atomic number 118 will receive the name “oganesson” and the periodic symbol Og. (An atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom of a specific element.) The element is one of four to be added to the table in January after a confirmation process. If the name is approved on Nov. 8, after a public review, it will mark only the second time in history that an element is named for a living scientist. In a statement, IUPAC said its proposal recognizes Oganessian for his pioneering contributions to research into elements with atomic numbers greater than 103, including “the discovery of superheavy elements and significant advances in the nuclear physics of superheavy nuclei.”

“It is a great honor for me,” Oganessian said, “as well as a measure of my input into the science of the super heavy elements.” Oganessian is the scientific leader of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, about 80 miles north of Moscow, where he has worked since 1956.  The new element is one of six that he and his team have discovered since 2000. Oganessian’s collaborators during the last 20 years have included Texas A&M University’s Cyclotron Institute as well as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vanderbilt University.

TIAS Founding Director John L. Junkins said, “We congratulate Dr. Oganessian on receiving this rare, history-making honor and applaud his many fundamental contributions to chemistry. His achievements in discovery of methods to synthesize heretofore unknown heavy elements have transformed his field and epitomize the high levels of innovation and advanced scholarship that the Fellows of our Institute bring to the Texas A&M campus every year.”

Read more at Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study

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