New names for the 4 newly discovered elements! #ElementyMcElementface

The four newly discovered elements on the periodic table (113, 115, 117, and 118) have officially received their names. Unfortunately, it’s not Element McElementface. But here they are:

Element 113 is dubbed “nihonium” and will sport the chemical symbol Nh. Its name comes from the Japanese word “Nihon,” or “Land of the Rising Sun,” a name for Japan.

Element 115 will receive the moniker “moscovium,” shortened to Mc, after the Moscow region, home to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, where the element was discovered in collaboration with researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Tennessee also gets a periodic table shout-out. The proposed name for element 117 is “tennessine,” after the home state of Oak Ridge, Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee. It will bear the symbol Ts.

Element 118 will be named oganesson, or Og, after Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian, who contributed to the discovery of several superheavy elements.

4 new elements added to periodic table!

Any chemists dream come true! Through a collaborative effort from Russia, USA, and Japan, 4 new elements have been officially recognized by IUPAC and added to the bottom row of the periodic table of the elements. They are “superheavy” elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 116, and 117. From NPR:

For now, they’re known by working names, like ununseptium and ununtrium — two of the four new chemical elements whose discovery has been officially verified. The elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 will get permanent names soon, according to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

With the discoveries now confirmed, “The 7th period of the periodic table of elements is complete,” according to the IUPAC. The additions come nearly five years after elements 114 (flerovium, or Fl) and element 116 (livermorium or Lv) were added to the table.

The elements were discovered in recent years by researchers in Japan, Russia and the United States. Element 113 was discovered by a group at the Riken Institute, which calls it “the first element on the periodic table found in Asia.”

Three other elements were discovered by a collaborative effort among the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. That collaboration has now discovered six new elements, including two that also involved the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Classified as “superheavy” — the designation given to elements with more than 104 protons — the new elements were created by using particle accelerators to shoot beams of nuclei at other, heavier, target nuclei.

The new elements’ existence was confirmed by further experiments that reproduced them — however briefly. Element 113, for instance, exists for less than a thousandth of a second.

The seventh period of the periodic chart is now complete, thanks to the addition of four new elements.

The seventh period of the periodic chart is now complete, thanks to the addition of four new elements.

IUPAC

“A particular difficulty in establishing these new elements is that they decay into hitherto unknown isotopes of slightly lighter elements that also need to be unequivocally identified,” said Paul Karol, chair of the IUPAC’s Joint Working Party, announcing the new elements. The working group includes members of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

The elements’ temporary names stem from their spot on the periodic table — for instance, ununseptium has 117 protons. Each of the discovering teams have now been asked to submit names for the new elements.

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The Ten Craziest Things Cells Do – Wallace Marshall (UCSF)

Dr. Marshall refutes the commonly held idea that cells are just bags of watery enzymes. He runs through his “Top 10 List” of unexpected and amazing things that individual cells can do. These including growing to be huge, navigating mazes, and performing feats that seem to belong in science fiction.

Amazing discovery of Thomas Jefferson’s Chemistry Lab at UVA!!

One of our favorite president’s was quite diverse in his interests. Recent findings during a renovation project at UVA reveal Thomas Jefferson’s Chem lab… one of the ONLY labs left in the world that remains completely preserved.  Yahoo News reports:

We’re still probing the depths of Thomas Jefferson’s accomplishments.

Over the weekend, the University of Virginia announced that Jefferson’s chemistry lab was discovered during renovations of the school’s famous Rotunda.

The United States’ third president, who founded the Charlottesville university, helped to design the 1820s “chemical hearth,” part of an early chemistry classroom — underscoring his appreciation for the natural sciences.

“It’s one of only a few — if not the only one — left in the world of this period that has not been fiddled with or changed over time,” Jody Lahendro, the university’s historic preservation architect, said in an interview with Yahoo News.

The chemistry lab survived because it was bricked up and forgotten about in the 1840s, when experiments were moved to another part of the building. This protected the room from a devastating fire in 1895 and the gutting of the building in 1976 (when the university wished to restore “Jefferson’s interior”), according to Lahendro.

Matt Scheidt, a project manager for John G. Waite Associates, an architecture firm overseeing the two-year renovation of the Rotunda, found the room while looking for evidence that masons may have thickened the walls of the rotunda following the 19th-century fire.

He looked inside one of two small, square firepits that had been exposed in the lower east oval room during the 1970s renovation.

“Matt actually had his head in and was looking up and realized there was a cavity above what we were seeing,” Clay S. Palazzo, a principal at the firm, told Yahoo News. “All of a sudden we had a lot of curiosity about what we were seeing. We pretty quickly determined that there was more behind that wall than anybody really knew about.”

John Emmet became the school’s first professor of natural history in April 1825. He quickly complained that his room was too tiny to dissipate heat and petitioned for another lab.

Two months later, Jefferson agreed to give him two rooms in the Rotunda’s basement — one for lectures and one for experiments.

According to Lahendro, Emmet would tell Jefferson, who designed the Rotunda to begin with, what he wanted for his chemistry lab; Jefferson would then work with Arthur Brockenbrough, the construction superintendent onsite, to make the changes.

The fireboxes, through which Scheidt discovered the room, were once used to burn wood and coal. This supplied heat for student experiments at five workstations on stone countertops.

“Jefferson brought John Emmet to the university to teach, among other things, chemistry,” Scheidt told Yahoo News. “We have correspondence between the two of them about what Emmet’s needs were going to be. We know that Jefferson was very involved.”

In one such letter, Jefferson explained that a chemistry professor needs furnaces, which cannot be used in regular lecture halls, for lessons.

“We therefore prepare the rooms under the oval rooms of the ground floor of the Rotunda for furnaces, stoves &c. These rooms are of 1,000 square feet area each,” he wrote.

John Waite, lead architect at John G. Waite Associates, said extensive archival research has been completed on the lab since it was uncovered in February 2013. The Jefferson lab appears to be based on British models from that era.

“All of this was based on English precedent. Emmet’s father was from Ireland. He emigrated to the United States, taught at Columbia, but was in touch with people from England,” Waite told Yahoo News.

Historians of science at the British Museum, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford know of no comparable laboratory in England, because theirs were research-oriented and renovated every few years, Waite said.

“This is a major find,” he said. “Nothing of the same type of laboratory from that period survives as far as they know anywhere in England or throughout the rest of Europe for that matter. … We’re just very lucky that it wasn’t taken out unknowingly during the previous work campaigns.”

The school plans to make the chemistry hearth a part of the Rotunda’s permanent display when renovations are finished next spring.

2015 #NobelPrize in Chemistry for Mechanistic Studies of DNA Repair

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to:

Tomas Lindahl
Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, UK

Paul Modrich
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA

and

Aziz Sancar
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

For their mechanistic studies on DNA repair. (As a Turkish chemistry major from UNC, huge shoutout to Sancar for this accomplishment… perhaps it’s a sign for me?)

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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 is awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments.

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