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When a new chemical element has been discovered and its synthesis confirmed, the IUPAC assigns it a permanent name and symbol. However, it's frequently the case that scientists need to be able to unambiguously discuss new elements before they receive a canonical name. In order to create such names in an impartial and predictable manner, the IUPAC came up with the following system of nomenclature.

The name is based on the decimal representation of the element's atomic number. For every digit in the number, take the term listed below, and concatenate them all together. Then put "-ium" on the end and you're done!

There are a few provisos, though. First of all, if the last digit was 2 or 3, you'd get "-biium" or "-triium", which are rather unappealing. The double i is compressed to a single one, giving "-bium" and "-trium", respectively. Secondly, if you have a 9 followed by a zero, the resulting "-ennnil-" is compressed to "-ennil-".

The chemical symbol for the element is formed by concatenating the symbols for each digit as in the table below, and capitalizing the first letter.

digit  term   symbol
0      nil    n
1      un     u
2      b(i)   b
3      tr(i)  t
4      quad   q
5      pent   p
6      hex    h
7      sept   s
8      oct    o
9      en(n)  e

Astute readers may notice that the terms in the table are a mixture of Latin and Greek; this is a result of the necessity for each one to have a different initial letter, and preferably be monosyllabic. It's worth noting that these names are intended to be temporary; once an element has received a permanent name, the systematic name is usually dropped in favour of it.

Here are some examples for your convenience, all of which represent elements which are currently unknown to occur in nature.

Element 130
untrinilium (Utn)
Element 245
biquadpentium (Bqp)
Element 673
hexsepttrium (Hst)
Element 890
octennilium (Oen)
Element 912
ennunbium (Eub)

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