Chemical elements may be named from various sources: sometimes based on the person who discovered it, or the place it was discovered. Some have Latin or Greek roots deriving from something related to the element, for example some use to which it may have been put.
All 118 discovered elements are confirmed and have a formal name and symbol, as decided by IUPAC. The last four names and symbols were added on November 28, 2016. Incidentally, at this moment there are no unconfirmed discoveries and all seven periods (rows) of the periodic table are completed.
Element names can refer to:
Chemical elements are sometimes named after people, especially the synthetic elements discovered (created) after ca. 1940. However, very few are named after their discoverers, and even fewer are named after living people. The element seaborgium is named after Glenn Seaborg, who was alive at the time; and oganesson is named after Yuri Oganessian (still living as of January 2018).
Lecoq de Boisbaudran, who named the element gallium after his native land of France (from Latin Gallia meaning Gaul) denied that the element's naming was for a pun on his own name ("le coq" means "the rooster" in French, as does "gallus" in Latin).
Some chemical elements are named after places on the planet earth.
Five are named after currently existing countries – polonium (named after Poland), francium and gallium (named after France), nihonium (named after Japan) and germanium (named after Germany). Only gallium and germanium are stable and occur in more than trace amounts on Earth. Americium is named after the Americas, in analogy with europium being named after Europe.
Other elements are named after modern states or cities, including berkelium, californium and tennessine named respectively after the American city of Berkeley and the states of California and Tennessee where they were discovered; and dubnium and moscovium, similarly named after Russia's Dubna and Moscow.
Several places in Scandinavia have elements named after them:
A number of other elements are named after classical words for various places.
The naming of elements from astronomical objects stems from the ancient association of metals with the various planets and their gods, as follows: mercury with the fast-moving planet Mercury; copper with the brilliant, beautiful planet Venus; iron with Mars (named for the Roman god of war); tin with Jupiter (named for the Roman king of the gods); and lead with the slow-moving planet Saturn (named for the ancient, slow god who was the father of Jupiter). The Sun and the Moon were associated with gold and silver, respectively.
A few other elements are directly named for astronomical bodies, including planets, dwarf planets, a few asteroids, our star, our planet, and our Moon. Uranium, neptunium, plutonium, cerium, and palladium were named after Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Ceres, and Pallas respectively, which were at the time of their naming all considered to be planets. (Today, Pluto and Ceres are considered to be dwarf planets, and Pallas is considered to be an asteroid.)
The name of the element selenium came from the Greek word for the Moon (Σελήνη, Selene). The name helium comes from the Greek word for the Sun (Ἢλιος, Helios). This is because the first evidence for helium was in distinctive, heretofore unknown spectroscopic lines from the Sun; these could not be explained by any of the known elements in the 1870s.
In 1979, IUPAC published recommendations for their systematic element names to be used for yet unnamed or undiscovered elements as a placeholder, until the discovery of the element is confirmed and a permanent name is decided on. The recommendations are mostly ignored among scientists, who simply call these elements by their atomic number, for example "element 119" (instead of "ununennium"), with the symbol of (119) or even simply 119.
Since 2002, the IUPAC Inorganic Chemistry Division has been the official body responsible with assigning official names to new elements, with the IUPAC Council making the final decision.
Once an element has been named, a one-, or two-letter symbol must be ascribed to it so it can be easily referred to in such contexts as the periodic table. The first letter is always capitalised. While the symbol is often a contraction of the element's name, it may sometimes not match the element's name when the symbol is based on non-English words; examples include "Pb" for lead (from plumbum in Latin) or "W" for tungsten (from Wolfram in German). Elements which have only temporary systematic names are given temporary three-letter symbols (e.g. Uue for ununennium, the undiscovered element 119).
The naming of the synthetic elements dubnium and seaborgium generated a significant amount of controversy, referred to as the Transfermium Wars. The Americans wished to name element 105 hahnium, while the Russians preferred the name dubnium. The Americans also wished to name element 106 seaborgium. This naming dispute ran from the 1970s (when the elements were discovered) to the 1990s, when the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) created a tentative list of the element names for elements 104 to 109. The Americans, however, refused to agree with these names because seaborgium was not in the list. Thus, IUPAC reconsidered, and in 1996 named element 105 dubnium and element 106 seaborgium.
When a pure element, comprising only one type of atom, nevertheless exists in multiple forms (allotropes) with different structure and properties, they are generally given different names; for example graphite and diamond are both forms of the element carbon. Even for elements such as nitrogen having only one stable allotrope, a name such as dinitrogen may be used to indicate its molecular structure N2 as well as its elemental composition. The naming of chemical compounds comprising more than one element is a complex subject, discussed at length in the article on chemical nomenclature.
Ium may refer to:
Ium (Greece), a town of ancient Laconia, Greece
-ium, a systematic naming of chemical elementsList of chemical element name etymologies
This article lists the etymology of chemical elements of the periodic table.List of chemical elements naming controversies
The currently accepted names and symbols of the chemical elements are determined by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), usually following recommendations by the recognized discoverers of each element. However the names of several elements have been the subject of controversies until IUPAC established an official name. In most cases the controversy was due to a priority dispute as to who first found conclusive evidence for the existence of an element, or as to what evidence was in fact conclusive.List of people whose names are used in chemical element names
Below is the list of people whose names are used in chemical element names. Of the 118 chemical elements, 19 are connected with the names of 20 people. 15 elements were named to honor 16 scientists. Four other elements have indirect connection to the names of non-scientists. Only gadolinium and samarium occur in nature; the rest are synthetic.List of places used in the names of chemical elements
40 of the 118 chemical elements have names associated with, or specifically named for, places around the world or among astronomical objects. 32 of these have names tied to the Earth and the other 8 have names connected to bodies in the Solar System. The first tables below list the terrestrial locations (excluding the entire Earth itself, taken as a whole) and the last table lists astronomical objects which the chemical elements are named after.Systematic element name
A systematic element name is the temporary name assigned to a newly synthesized or not yet synthesized chemical element. A systematic symbol is also derived from this name. In chemistry, a transuranic element receives a permanent name and symbol only after its synthesis has been confirmed. In some cases, such as the Transfermium Wars, controversies over the formal name and symbol have been protracted and highly political. In order to discuss such elements without ambiguity, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) uses a set of rules to assign a temporary systematic name and symbol to each such element. This approach to naming originated in the successful development of regular rules for the naming of organic compounds.Transfermium Wars
The names for the chemical elements 104 to 106 were the subject of a major controversy starting in the 1960s, described by some nuclear chemists as the Transfermium Wars because it concerned the elements following fermium (element 100) on the periodic table.
This controversy arose from disputes between American scientists and Soviet scientists as to which had first isolated these elements. The final resolution of this controversy in 1997 also decided the names of elements 107 to 109.
|Periodic table forms|
|Sets of elements|