Asia's first periodic table entry named after Japan

Kosuke Morita smiles as he points to a board displaying the new atomic element 113 during a press conference in Wako, Saitama prefecture, on December 31, 2015. 'Nihonium,' the name for the element, was officially approved Wednesday.

Story highlights

  • 'Nihonium' is the first element to be ever added to the periodic table from Asia
  • Element finder Kosuke Morita has been beavering away on this discovery since 2003

(CNN)Names stick for life. Get them wrong and your kids are likely in for a lifetime of hardships.

Luckily, that principle doesn't apply to elements of the periodic table.
    'Nihonium (Nh),' Moscovium (Mc), Oganesson (Og) and Tennessine (Ts) are four elements that were officially name-approved and joined 118 other elements on the periodic table Wednesday. With the latest additions, the periodic table is now complete down to the seventh row.
    What makes Nihonium (Nh) -- named after the country Japan (nihon) -- stand out is, maybe not it's super-creative name, but rather the fact that it's the first element to be discovered by a researcher from Asia.
    Kyushu University Professor Kosuke Morita (C) points to the "nihonium" on a periodic table during a press conference in the southwestern Japan city of Fukuoka on Dec. 1, 2016.
    Kosuke Morita, the father of 'nihonium' and a physics professor at Kyushu University said his team's addition to the periodic table was exciting and symbolic.
    "All the elements before were discovered in the West, and it is wonderful that we now have an element discovered in Asia," said Morita in a statement.

    Beavering away since 2003

    Nihonium is an extremely radioactive, superheavy, synthetically-made element that Morita's research group has been working on since 2003.
    The group synthesized element 113 for the first time in July 2004, repeating the feat in April 2005 and August 2012. They used RIKEN national research Institute's heavy ion linear accelerator -- a particle accelerator that increases the kinetic energy of charged ions to produce reactions.
    In December 2015, Kosuke Morita submitted his team's proposed name for element 113 to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. It was officially approved after undergoing a public review between June to November 2016.
    "We've always been dreaming of having a Japanese name on the table again," Hideto En'yo, the director of RIKEN's nuclear physics center, told CNN.
    Next up, Morita wants to focus on discovering even heavier elements that might make it onto the periodic table.
    'Godzillium' anyone?