On the discovery of new elements (IUPAC/IUPAP Provisional Report)

Corresponding Author: Sigurd Hofmann

Almost thirty years ago the criteria that are currently used to verify claims for the discovery of a new element were set down by the comprehensive work of a Transfermium Working Group, TWG, jointly established by IUPAC and IUPAP. The recent completion of the naming of the 118 elements in the first seven periods of the Periodic Table of the Elements was considered as an opportunity for a review of these criteria in the light of the experimental and theoretical advances in the field. In late 2016 the Unions decided to establish a new Joint Working Group, JWG, consisting of six members determined by the Unions. A first meeting of the JWG was in May 2017. One year later this report was finished. In a first part the works and conclusions of the TWG and the Joint Working Parties, JWP, deciding on the discovery of the now named elements are summarized. Possible experimental developments for production and identification of new elements beyond the presently known ones are estimated. Criteria and guidelines for establishing priority of discovery of these potential new elements are presented. Special emphasis is given to a description for the application of the criteria and the limits for their applicability.


In accordance with the Terms of Reference under which the JWG was established, this report has been provisionally accepted by IUPAC and IUPAP, and is open for comment for 5 months. Comments should be directed to both Presidents, and will be accepted up to 31 March 2019:
Zhou Qifeng [[email protected]], President of IUPAC
Kennedy Reed [[email protected]], President of IUPAP

Provisional report published in Pure Appl. Chem. 2018; 90(11): 1773–1832; https://doi.org/10.1515/pac-2018-0918

Public review ended 31 March 2019

Final IUPAC/IUPAP Report published in PAC https://doi.org/10.1515/pac-2020-2926 (AOP 4 Aug 2020); in print in Sep 2020

Project Details

View Publication