A recent update to the periodic table of elements will not affect the College of Natural Sciences in any significant way, said associate chemistry professor David Vandenbout.
The change came after a general assembly meeting of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, a leading international physics organization with representatives from countries around the world. The Union approved the names darmstadtium (Ds), roentgenium (Rg) and copernicium (Cn) for elements 111, 112 and 113, respectively. The elements are named after Darmstadt, the city element 111 was first discovered in, German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen and famed astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
Vandenbout said an impact was unlikely because the update involves exceedingly rare components made in high-energy experiments that are not used very often in chemistry.
“This is an example of how science works internationally and how people have to agree on things,” Vandenbout said. “People discovered this [process] when astronomers decided Pluto wasn’t a planet.”
Vandenbout said he was sure the school will update the periodic tables in its buildings at some point but not anywhere in the near future. It’s not a big deal if students use the old tables, Vandenbout said.
Engineering junior Sai Gourisankar said he uses the periodic table a lot in his chemistry classes and that the renaming didn’t really affect him as those particular elements are usually not seen in undergraduate classes.
“It’s just something I need to get used to seeing,” Gourinsankar said. “I don’t think it’ll be a big deal. They might come up with something like obamaidium in the future and you just have to get used to seeing it.”