How does IUPAC name elements?

1 Answer
Sep 28, 2015


The IUPAC has a Joint Working Party on Discovery of Elements.


The Working Party meets periodically to consider claims for the discovery of new chemical elements.

The General Assembly then votes on any recommendations.

New elements are produced in small quantities, and they have short half-lives.

The procedure for naming a new element is long:

• The discoverers must publish a claim that they have discovered a new element.
• The Working Party analyzes the claim to verify the discoverer, the validity of the experiments , and whether there really is a new element . It then publishes its conclusions.
• The element gets a provisional name (like ununoctium, Uuo) and a position in the periodic table.
• The credited discoverers propose a name and symbol for the new element.
• Neutral scientists review the recommendation.
• IUPAC makes the final decision.
• IUPAC publishes the name and adds it to the Periodic Table.

The IUPAC also specifies standard spellings for the names of elements.

Examples are aluminium for #"Al"#, sulfur for #"S"#, and caesium for #"Cs"#.