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New periodic table element names confirmed, textbook makers sigh in relief


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What's in a name? If you're the general assembly of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, then quite a lot. It's that bunch who have finally rubber-stamped the names of elements Darmstadtium (110), Roentgenium (111) and Copernicum (112) on the Periodic table. The trio are so named in honor of Darmstadt (where it was first created), Wilhelm Röntgen (discoverer of X-Rays) and Nicolaus Copernicus (explaining the universe since 1533). All three elements are "super-heavy", lab-created substances that rapidly degrade down into less interesting materials -- Copernicium-285 has a relatively long half-life of 29 seconds. The ratification went without a hitch, causing a sigh of relief amongst the textbook makers who have included the elements in the table for quite some time. Although we were hoping that element 111 would have to change its name back to the original, nearly unpronounceable unununium.

[Image courtesy of the BBC / Talkback Thames]

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