Petition to name a new element in Terry Pratchett's honour

Or at least before they got to Unununium. A somewhat unfortunate loss, that one.


Oh come on! Thiotimoline is the obvious choice.

And it has the advantage of being invented by an actual chemist.

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I liked “Noon, 22nd century”, but I read the new German translation based on the revised Russian complete edition published in the early 2000s (+/-)

Ah, like Fluor, Chlor, Brom, Jod, and Astat? Or was that fluor, chlore, brome and astate? Or 氟, 氯, 溴, 碘, and 砹?
Maybe the periodic table is not the right place for English-only thinking.
The prescription to pronounce the “O” in “Oc” as an entirely different vowel from what is written will only work in non-phonetic scripts like English and Chinese.

The standardized ending for new element names is -ium, by the way.

But more importantly, using a word with the oct- stem for something that has nothing to do with “eight”, but is rather in group 17, and in period 7 (not period 17), is a crime against indo-european heritage.

Naming things that have “seven” stamped all over them after the number eight would fit perfectly on the discworld, though…


The sad thing is that when Lysenko was discredited Western biologists had come to believe that expression was 100% determined by the genome. Now we know that environment does have an effect on the expression of some genes and the overall picture is more complicated. Lysenko wasn’t completely wrong, he was just the fall guy for mockery of Soviet science.
But the West had its ideologies too. Just as some Soviet science was held up by the belief in Hegelian dialectic and Marx’s dialectic materialism, so the understanding of the continuum of behaviour across the mammals has been held up by the Western belief that man was in some religious sense different from the other primates, leading to idiocies like Carson on the one hand, and a human psychology largely based on research on white middle class students on the other.

There is a predicted island of stability, where the element doesn’t decay. We have no idea yet what uses these new materials may have, but it’s a theory well worth following.
Reaching elements 113, 115, 117 & 118 is just steps on the way to developing the tech to take it further.

So I just got this back from the Cambridge Library:

It appears that only 5 libraries in the U.S. have this book. We can try to get it for you through interlibrary loan if you like?

I said yes, of course, but I’m amazed how this book barely exists in the US given how much I’ve heard of it. Or maybe I’ve only heard of it on BoingBoing…

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It was originally published as a paperback in the late 70s, so maybe it was either never acquisitioned in most places, or hasn’t aged well?

Oh yes, the research itself is probably at least as useful as anything else – but giving the elements special names, equating them with much more useful components, and enshrining them in wall posters and textbooks forever? It seems questionable.

At least a celestial object with a funny name is something you could (in theory) point a telescope at and track somehow. Even a species of chewing louse found only on owls is something you could potentially walk out and find somewhere. But heavy elements that are difficult to observe, let alone make?

Pity there aren’t any more orangutan species to discover & name. I always liked the librarian

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I see your point, but it’s really not about usefulness, nor abundance, nor decay rate. At these unstable rates it’s more a mathematical model of what happens when so many electrons and protons exist in the same space. Enshrining them in textbooks forever allows future generations to learn about the entire periodic table and the years of research and effort that went in to discovering each piece of it, useful or otherwise.
If you’d spent a great portion of your career researching this, wouldn’t you want to give it a special name?
I’d call it Unobtrusium.

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