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August 30, 1997

For Immediate Release

IUPAC Adopts Final Recommendations for Names of Transfermium Elements

The Council of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) today approved final recommendations for names of elements 101-109. By a vote of 64 to 5 (with 12 abstentions) delegates from IUPAC's 40 member countries accepted the report of its Committee on Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry (CNIC), thus ending a three-year controversy over the names of these short-lived, artificially produced elements.

The names and symbols recommended by IUPAC are as follows:

Element

Name

Symbol

101

Mendelevium

Md

102

Nobelium

No

103

Lawrencium

Lr

104

Rutherfordium

Rf

105

Dubnium

Db

106

Seaborgium

Sg

107

Bohrium

Bh

108

Hassium

Hs

109

Meitnerium

Mt

 

The Commission's report recommended that elements 101, mendelevium; 102, nobelium; and 103, lawrencium should retain their commonly accepted names although it is clear that the original claim of discovery of nobelium is in error. The priorities for the discovery of elements 104 and 105 are disputed. CNIC accepted the name proposed for 104 by the Berkeley group, rutherfordium, and recommended that element 105 should be called dubnium in honor of the Dubna laboratory, where important contributions to the creation of transfermium elements have originated. Element 106 was uncontested as a discovery, and the name seaborgium (Sg) was accepted. Elements 107, 108 and 109 are also uncontested discoveries and CNIC accepted the proposals of the discoverers in the Darmstadt group, except for bohrium, rather than nielsbohrium for 107, after consultation with Danish authorities.

The final recommendations are based partly on suggestions received during the official five-month comment period called for in IUPAC's Bylaws. Comments came from individual chemists worldwide and from the 40 National Adhering Organizations that comprise IUPAC. The new names replace the provisional recommendations initially proposed by CNIC in August 1994.

The naming of the transfermium elements has been controversial, partly because of disagreements on priority for discovery of several elements. According to Alan Sargeson, Chairman of CNIC, the Commission accepted the conclusions on discovery reached by the Transfermium Working Group (TWG) in 1993. The TWG was formed jointly by IUPAC and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics in 1986 to establish criteria that must be satisfied for the discovery of a new chemical element to be recognized and to evaluate competing claims. In selecting names, CNIC gave great weight to proposals by discoverers of the elements but considered other factors as well.

IUPAC's recommendations in a wide range of chemistry carry no legal force but are normally viewed as authoritative throughout the world. IUPAC President Albert Fischli pointed out that the process of proposing provisional recommendations, soliciting comments from the chemistry community and making revisions where indicated has worked well. "Unfortunately, he said, "with conflicting claims and preferences, it has not been possible to devise names that are completely satisfying to all the laboratories involved in these discoveries. I believe that the final recommendations come close to achieving our goal and hope they will be used worldwide."

Further information:

Dr. John W. Jost
Executive Director, IUPAC
Telephone: +1 919 485 8700
Fax: +1 919 485 8706
E-mail: secretariat@iupac.org


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