Physicists officially christened the three elements, substances that cannot be broken down by chemical means, on Friday at the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics meeting in London held every three years.
Researchers already named the three elements that became number 110, 111 and 112 respectively in the periodic table, the standardized arrangement of elements. But Friday, the names officially joined the ranks of the periodic table.
The naming of these elements has been agreed in consultation with physicists around the world, and we're delighted to see them now being introduced to the Periodic Table, Robert Kirby-Harris, secretary-general of IUPAP, said Friday.
Physicists created the elements in the mid-1990s at Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung, a large atom smasher in Darmstadt, Germany.
Sigurd Hofmann, heavy element researcher at GSI, headed the elemental studies published in 1995 and 1996 in the journal Zeitschrift für Physik A Hadrons and Nuclei.
The elements only last for seconds to minutes and result from smashing atoms such as nickel and lead (darmstadtium); nickel and bismuth (roentgenium) and zinc and lead (copernicium).
The naming of the elements stretched across geography and history: darmstadtium got its name from the German city near its discovery; roentgenium honored German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen and copernicium came from Nicolaus Copernicus, a transformational astronomer.
The periodic table currently maxes out at element 118, temporarily known as ununoctium.
The christening came near the end of the IUPAP meeting in London that ends Friday.