Governor Haslam came to Oak Ridge on Friday afternoon to celebrate Tennessee’s new place in the scientific community, to honor some of the scientists who made it possible, and to inspire future researchers.
Tennessine was one of four new elements added to the periodic table in 2016.
It was so named because of the efforts of UT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Vanderbilt University in its specific discovery, and also for contributions that the state has made to science in general.
Tennessine joins Californium as the only states so honored.
“We love that the newest element and the only second named for a state is tennessine, and that the very best scientific work that’s happening in the world is happening right here,” Haslam told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “I feel grateful for the people here at the lab and people throughout this partnership that not only have worked to produce a new element, but have also worked to make certain that the next generation of students can be part of a discovery team working all around the world.”
Robert Grzywacz, director of the UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Nuclear Physics and Applications and a physics professor at UT, served as UT’s connection to the project, helping to develop a process that measures the decay of nuclear materials down to one millionth of a second, which was vital in proving the existence of the new element.