Filling the Periodic Table: New Names for the Newest Elements

5351053616_66fe9d7ee2_mIf the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has its way, the world’s periodic table will have four new names added. Planned for the lower right-hand corner, the names of the new chemical elements are moscovium (Mc); nihonium (Nh), tennessine (Ts), and oganesson (Og). According to the IUPAC rules, elements must be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a scientist, one of their physical or chemical properties, or a place. The name for element 113, for example, was derived from the Japanese word “Nihon” or “Japan”. After much debate, this name won out over its leading competitor, “Japonium”. By the same token, Elements 115 and 117, owe their names to the toponyms “Moscow” and “Tennessee”. Unless there are major objections, these chemical monikers will become officially enshrined in the table this coming Autumn.

Protesters rally against Pikachu’s new name

6507355481_7fbd9b3701_mRecently, angry demonstrators armed with banners rallied in front of the Consulate General of Japan. What was the fight over? If you ask the protesters, they would probably answer history, culture, identity, and corporate bullying. At the center of the firestorm is the name of a cute, little, yellow, red cheeked…uh…critter named Bei Ka Chiu aka Pikachu. If Nintendo has its way, this beloved figure will be known the world over Pei Ka Yau in Cantonese.

The Sioux Nickname Is Gone, but North Dakota Hockey Fans Haven’t Moved On

6406452785_93004805e6_mIn 2012, after a seven-year battle with the NCAA, the North Dakota men’s hockey team finally acquiesced and officially changed their team name to the “Fighting Hawks”. The North Dakota voters overwhelmingly supported the name change. However, as a quick look in the stands of a hockey game shows, diehard fans have remained resistant to the change. The team’s older name, The Fighting Sioux, remains stubbornly popular among many team fans.