Alexander Praises Proposal to Name New Element “Tennessine” to Recognize Tennesseans Who Helped Discover It

Posted on June 8, 2016

Says Vanderbilt, “Oak Ridge Corridor” collaboration in new element’s discovery remind us of the extraordinary scientific brainpower and technological capabilities in our state 

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 8, 2016 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today praised the recommendation by one of the best known objective scientific organizations to name one of four recently discovered superheavy elements “Tennessine” (Ts) in recognition of the contribution of Tennessee research centers:

“Today’s announcement that ‘Tennessine’ is the proposed name of a newly discovered element is a testament to the remarkable Tennessee talent that led to the discovery,” Alexander said. “The contributions of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee working with Vanderbilt University and other international collaborators remind us of the extraordinary scientific brainpower and technological capabilities in our state.”

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Inorganic Chemistry Division today announced that “Tennessine” (Ts) is the proposed name for element 117, whose verified discovery was announced in January of this year.  The proposed name recognizes the Tennessee research centers involved in the discovery, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University, all of which have made critical contributions to superheavy element research. The Tennessee research centers produced and separated ultrapure Berkelium-294 over a nine-month period, which was the crucial starting point for the discovery of the new element. In addition, they participated in all other aspects of the experiments and contributed advanced detector technology to the effort to verify the new element.

Last September, Alexander suggested calling the four-lane highway from the Knoxville airport to Oak Ridge the “Oak Ridge Corridor” — a signature and identity representing excellence in science, research, technology and supercomputing.  The “Oak Ridge Corridor” is one of the most formidable concentrations of brainpower anywhere in our country, and today’s announcement is one more example of how the region’s resources can be used to make new scientific discoveries.

The names and symbol is now subject to a five month public comment period before it can become final. After the public comment period is complete, IUPAC’s Inorganic Chemistry Division will forward its final recommendation to the IUPAC Council for final approval.