Now that the International Union of Applied Chemistry has recognised four new elements, the race is on to decide what to call them.
A new Change.org petition to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (which has naming rights for element 117) asks them to name the new element in Terry Pratchett's honour, as a remembrance of his early death in 2015.
The petition asks that the new element be dubbed "Octarine" (the imaginary colour of magic from the novel of the same name), abbreviated Oc (pronounced "ook" in honour of Unseen University's librarian).
Octarine, in the Discworld books, is known as 'the colour of magic', which forms the title of Pratchett's first ever Discworld book. According to Disc mythology, octarine is visible only to wizards and cats, and is generally described as a sort of greenish-yellow purple colour, which seems perfect for what will probably be the final halogen in the periodic table. Octarine is also a particularly pleasing choice because, not only would it honour a world-famous and much-loved author, but it also has an 'ine' ending, consistent with the other elements in period 17.
Octarine is being counted as 'a mythological concept' under IUPAC rules, which state that elements must be named after "a mythological concept or character; a mineral, or similar substance; a place or geographical region; a property of the element; or a scientist". The Discworld stories are certainly stories about gods and heroes, and 70 million books surely count for something.
Name new element 117 Octarine, in honour of Terry Pratchett's Discworld
[The Chronicle Flask/Change.org]
(via Diane Duane)