It happened today — four newly discovered elements got named. They are:
Nihonium and symbol Nh, for the element 113
Moscovium and symbol Mc, for the element 115,
Tennessine and symbol Ts, for the element 117,
Oganesson and symbol Og, for the element 118.This isn't finalized, but these are the proposed names that will substitute for the current placeholders (e.g., ununpentium, ununseptium). Nilhonium, Moscovium, and Tennesine are all named for places; Oganessen is named for the Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian.
But we all know scientists are bad at naming things, and we have until November to lobby for other names. Here are some suggestions:
Proposed real name: Nihonium
Proposed alternate names: Maneki-nekonium, Nekonium, Mononoawarium
There are lots of things that represent Japan, like adorable catsNihonium was discovered in Japan, and is named for "Nihon," the Japanese way of saying "Japan." But there are lots of things that represent Japan, like adorable cats. Perhaps Maneki-nekonium isn't the right way to go, but I still would welcome Nekonium as a new element. After all, discovering a new element is hard work — but it also requires luck.
The Japanese also have a phrase I've found really useful in describing art: mono-no-aware, or the sensitivity to fleeting beauty. Typically this is represented by cherry blossoms. Like most lab-synthesized compounds, Nihonium doesn't stick around very long — it's unstable and, like all the elements here, quickly fragments into other elements. Maybe mononoawarium is too long a name, but I like it.
Proposed real name: Moscovium
Proposed alternate names: Kareninium, Notes-from-Undergroundium, Krycekium
Moscovium is named for Moscow, naturally. But what if we went another direction — Kareninium, named for the heroine of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Again, she quickly falls apart — well, okay, not quickly for the reader, the book is a thousand pages long, but quickly in terms of the events portrayed. There's also the possibility of Notes-From-Undergroundium, but it's a little less felicitous to say. I'd also suggest Krycekium, but I think possibly The X-Files is not as popular globally as it is with me, personally.
Proposed real name: Tennessine
Proposed alternate names: Laurium, Honkytonkine, Bourbonine, Whiskine
Tennessee Williams is not actually from TennesseeMy mind went directly to Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagarie: again, delicate Laura Wingfield quickly crumbles onstage. So Laurine seems like it might be a felicitous name. But Tennessee Williams is not actually from Tennessee, so maybe that won't work.
The state is the home of Nashville, however, so perhaps something like Honkytonkine would be appropriate. Tennessee is also known for its local delicacy (whiskey); Bourbonine or Whiskine wouldn't be terrible!
Proposed real name: Oganesson
What if we just called it Yuri? Feels friendlier.