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In case you were wondering…

In case you were wondering…

By Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R01996,_Brieftaube_mit_Fotokamera.jpg: o.Ang.derivative work: Hans Adler [CC BY-SA 3.0 de], via Wikimedia CommonsLeaving clients hanging in mid-air in their dealings with Talk Science to Me is not our style: every i is dotted, projects are delivered within deadline and we fully communicate project progress with every milestone. Professionals to the core.

This also extends to you, dear reader, on the blog. We hope our posts leave you informed, engaged and wanting to know more…but never in the dark. So without further ado, ta-dah: updates on a couple of stories we ran earlier this year.

New elements, new names

In January this year, birth announcements included news of four new chemical elements: 113, 115, 117 and 118, as they were officially recognized. The news this month is that they now all have names; welcome nihonium (Nh, element 113), moscovium (Mc, element 115), tennessine (Ts, element 117) and oganesson (Og, element 118) to the family.

The names, chosen according to International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) rules (take a quick look at this table for the origins of element names), all reflect the origins of their discoveries. For example, nihonium, first discovered at the RIKEN Nishina Centre near Tokyo, references one of the ways to say “Japan” in Japanese. It is the first element to be discovered in Asia.

Oganesson acknowledges the work of Yuri Oganessian, a Russian researcher who helped discover many superheavy elements. Element 118 is also only the second element named after a living scientist; element 106, seaborgium, was the first. Any guesses for tennessine and moscovium …?

Objections? Now that the names are up for public review, IUPAC has a five-month waiting period for complaints before finally adding them to the periodic table. You can check out some suggested alternatives here.

Is that a gravitational wave I see?

Following on from “Ripples, no doubt” in February this year, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) team has captured yet another couple of black holes colliding. The ripples caught in the LIGO detector array arrived on Boxing Day 2015, and the researchers have been analyzing the data since then. Described as “a second robust binary black hole coalescence,” the waves came from a smaller collision and thus remained in the observatory detector for longer than the first captures. This meant that the scientists could “see” more and hence learn more about the nature of the black holes involved in the collision. For example, they could see that one of the black holes was indeed spinning like a top from the 27 orbits (55 cycles in new data) completed over the course of the detection.

In addition to reconfirming Einstein’s theory, this new capture helps prove that the first wasn’t just a lucky find. Expect more from LIGO and its European partners.

Eavesdrop on two black holes colliding:

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