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Japanese scientists propose to name element 113 ‘Nihonium’

Tokyo, June 8 (IANS) Japanese researchers who discovered element number 113 of the periodic table have proposed naming it ‘Nihonium’ (Nh), officials said on Wednesday.

Japanese research institute Riken has sent its proposal to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) — the highest authority in the field — which is expected to announce the official name for the new element by the end of the year, EFE news reported.

‘Nihonium’ alludes to ‘Nihon’, the Japanese name for the Asian island nation, officials said.

In December, the Zurich-based organisation conceded the credit for the discovery of the synthetic element to Riken, granting it the right to give it an official name.

Up until now, element number 113 has been labelled with the provisional name ‘uruntrio’.

The new synthetic element has 113 protons in its nucleus, and was identified by a team headed by Japanese scientist Kosuke Morita, from the University of Kyushu.

Synthetic elements are not found in nature and are artificially produced through experiments which have created 24 such elements including plutonium, although all are unstable, according to Riken, which announced its discovery in December 2015.

The claim to element 113 was earlier disputed, with a joint US-Russia research team also alleging authorship, in a claim now debunked.

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