In the years 2003 and 2004 two separate scientific research facilities reported the discovery of a new type of element that could be added to the Periodic Table, with atomic number 113. The second research effort was by the Japanese natural sciences laboratory RIKEN, obtained through a test collision of bismuth and zinc ions, and was the one given primary credit for the element. Thanks to the foresight of Dmitri Mendeleev and other scientists in devising a scheme for giving placeholders to unnamed and undiscovered elements, Element 113 was alternatively called eka-thallium and ununtrium (Uut).
However, following a grueling five-month public review, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) on Wednesday November 30 has approved the final renaming of ununtrium as Nihonium, from “Japan” in Japanese/Nihon-go. This, according to Forbes, is in honor of the RIKEN institute researchers led by Kyushu University Professor Kosuke Morita. It’s the first element discovered
by Asian researchers and is given the symbol Nh.
Looking from its placement at the periodic table alone, it’s easy for even one with knowledge of basic chemistry to determine that Nihonium is highly radioactive, and from what has been said earlier about being formed by a zinc-bismuth collision, it’s a synthetic element and doesn’t occur in nature. It doesn’t even maintain itself for very long with its 20-second half-life.
It doesn’t need to be said how much excited Professor Morita was at this supreme honor, especially as his team at RIKEN as a whole was credited for the discovery of Nihonium. In a statement about the naming he remarked, "All the elements before were discovered in the West, and it is wonderful that we now have an element discovered in Asia.”
This rather minor news (for the non-scientifically inclined) has surprising caught the fancy of old anime fans, especially of the “super robot” genre. You see, the most arguably definitive super robot anime is the 1972 “Mazinger Z”, about a powerful photon energy-powered robot piloted by a spirited and hot-tempered high-school student to fight the monstrous robots of mad scientist Doctor Hell.
Mazinger’s construction material is primarily the fictitious photon-energy- generating “Super Alloy Z”, created from a rare metal named “Japanium” extracted from underneath Mt. Fuji. Humor-mined fanboys have begun wondering online about when Japan might be able to use the real-life Nihonium to recreate the make-believe super robot.
In addition to Nihonium, other officially name-approved synthetic elements by the IUPAC include Moscovium (Mc), Oganesson (Og) and Tennessine (Ts). At the latest, the Periodic Table of Elements is filled up to the seventh row.
Photo Credit to http://time.com/