On the discovery of new elements (IUPAC/IUPAP Provisional Report): Provisional Report of the 2017 Joint Working Group of IUPAC and IUPAP

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.


  • Sigurd Hofmann
  • Sergey N. Dmitriev
  • Claes Fahlander
  • Jacklyn M. Gates
  • James B. Roberto
  • Hideyuki Sakai
External organisations
  • GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research
  • Joint Institute for Nuclear Research
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • University of Tokyo
  • RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Physics Topics


  • discovery, IUPAC Inorganic Chemistry Division, IUPAP Commission for Nuclear Physics, naming process, new elements, periodic table, superheavy elements, superheavy nuclei, trans-organesson, Transfermium Working Group
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1773-1832
JournalPure and Applied Chemistry
Issue number11
Early online date2018 Nov 8
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch