- The first element discovered in Asia is now officially named “Nihonium”
- This is also the first element to be discovered outside Europe or the United States
- It was synthetically created by Japanese scientists in 2004
The first element in the periodic table which was discovered in Asia has officially been named “Nihonium” after the country where it was discovered — Japan.
Nihonium, which is the 113th element in the periodic table, is also the first element to be discovered outside of Europe or the United States.
“I believe the fact that we, in Japan, found one of only 118 known atomic elements gives this discovery great meaning. Another important meaning is that until now, all the elements in the periodic table have been discovered in Europe and the United States. There has not been a single atomic element found in Asia, Oceania or Africa,” explained RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science professor Kosuke Morita to Reuters, which was previously quoted by ABS-CBN News.
Morita and his team first synthetically created element 113 in 2004.
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially recognized the discovery of the new element in December last year. Its new name will undergo a five-month public review before it will be made permanent as a fixture in the periodic table.
Meanwhile, scientists from all over the globe have welcomed the newest addition to the official family of elements.
“I think it’s a very big deal. In fact it occurred to me that this was almost the scientific equivalent to Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman to be nominated for a U.S. presidential election. It’s a first. Science has been a pretty much exclusively Western affair, at least as far as naming of elements has been concerned,” explained University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) professor Eric Scerri to PRI.
With this latest development, nihonium is expected to join three other new elements of the periodic table: element 116 or moscovium, element 117 or tennessine, and element 118, oganesson.