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Something You Learned In Middle School Is About To Change Forever

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Photo: Getty Images.
Some big science news broke at the very end of 2015, and it's essential you read up on it if you ever want to help the middle schooler in your life with their homework. And they'll need help, because seventh grade science is getting harder — truly ambitious kids now have to memorize a periodic table of elements that's bigger than the one we remember.
Ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium, and ununoctium (filler names until they get their real titles later this year) were officially added to the table on December 30. They're also known as elements 113, 115, 117, and 118. Elements 114 and 116 were added to the table in 2011. The new elements are not found in nature, and are instead created in a lab.

The discovery marks an important development in the table. According to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, with their addition, "The 7th period of the periodic table of elements is complete." Element 113 was discovered by scientists in Japan, while credit for discovering 115, 117, and 118 is shared by Russia and the U.S. In addition to general bragging rights, the teams credited with making these discoveries will get to name the respective elements. To narrow their ideas, the IUPAC has pointed out names can be pulled from, "a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist." Fingers crossed for the unicorn element.
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