Periodic table
The new periodic table as of May 2013International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

Science textbooks around the world will be ready for an overhaul as the periodic table now has its seventh row completed with the introduction of four new elements. The elements 113, 115, 117 and 118, discovered by scientists in Japan, Russia and America are the first to be added to the table since 2011, when elements 114 and 116 were added.

The four elements which are not to be found in natural form as they are synthetic elements and can only be produced in the lab, were approved by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the global organisation that governs chemical nomenclature, terminology and measurement on 30 December.

"The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row," said Professor Jan Reedijk, president of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC.

The IUPAC has now invited the scientists who discovered the elements to propose permanent names and symbols as they are only temporarily recognised as

  • Ununtrium, (Uut) - Element 113
  • Ununpentium (Uup) - Element 115
  • Ununseptium (Uus) - Element 116
  • Ununoctium (Uuo) - Element 117

While elements 115, 116 and 117 have been credited to a team of Russian-American scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, element 113 has been credited to Japanese scientists from the Riken institute in Japan. Element 113 will in fact be the first element to be named in Asia.

Periodic Table
Kosuke Morita, the leader of the Riken team, smiles as he points to a board displaying the new atomic element 113 during a press conference in Wako, JapanKAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

"For over seven years we continued to search for data conclusively identifying element 113, but we just never saw another event. I was not prepared to give up, however, as I believed that one day, if we persevered, luck would fall upon us again," said one of the scientists, Kosuke Morita from Riken. Morita said his team will now look to the uncharted territory of element 119 and beyond.

Details of elements 115, 117, and 118 are yet to be published. Element 113's detailed discovery has, however, already been reported in the Journal of Physical Society of Japan.