Vanderbilt University professor helps discover new element

Element 117, to be named “tennessine,” was discovered by an international collaboration including Vanderbilt’s Joseph Hamilton and A.V. Ramayya, alongside researchers at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory via Vanderbilt University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Vanderbilt University professor has helped discover a new element.

Joseph Hamilton (Courtesy: Vanderbilt University)
Joseph Hamilton (Courtesy: Vanderbilt University)

The new element, unofficially named Tennessine, was discovered by physics professor Joseph Hamilton.

“Formal certification of these provisional names is expected in five months,” Hamilton explained. “After this occurs, the name of the state of Tennessee will be in the periodic table in textbooks of physics and chemistry worldwide forever.”

Once it receives its official name, Tennessee will be the second U.S. state to have an element named after it. Element 98, Californium, was discovered in the 1950s and was named after the university and state of California.

Tennessine (Ts) will join three other new elements on the bottom row of the periodic table.

Vanderbilt professor A.V. Ramayya also assisted in the work.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) praised the recommendation by one of the best known objective scientific organizations to name one of four recently discovered superheavy elements “Tennessine” (Ts) in recognition of the contribution of Tennessee research centers.

“Today’s announcement that ‘Tennessine’ is the proposed name of a newly discovered element is a testament to the remarkable Tennessee talent that led to the discovery,” Alexander said.

“The contributions of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee working with Vanderbilt University and other international collaborators remind us of the extraordinary scientific brainpower and technological capabilities in our state.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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