4 new elements added to the periodic table

The Periodic Table Gains 4 New Elements

Get ready to throw out all those chemistry textbooks -- they're officially outdated.

Chemists around the world are ringing in the new year with four new elements added to the periodic table. Elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 have officially been recognized, completing the table's seventh row.

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The yet-to-be-permanently-named elements were approved and verified by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry on Dec. 30.

The elements are temporarily named ununtrium (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118).

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The discoveries of elements 115, 117 and 118 were attributed to a team of Russian and American researchers, while 113, which the same team attempted to claim, was credited to a team of Japanese researchers. The discovery of these elements was no easy task, though.

"They last only thousandths of a second. ... What they're really doing is pushing our understanding. ... We take atoms of one kind, and we accelerate them to huge speeds, and then we smash them into a target," Professor Andrea Sella of University College London explained to the BBC.

The teams of scientists who discovered these elements will now pick permanent names and symbols for them.

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