Periodic Table Evolution: Unveiling New Elements from 1987 to 2023

Join me in uncovering the changes in the periodic table over the last few decades. This blog post will highlight the addition of thirteen groundbreaking elements from 1987 to 2023, offering insights into their discovery and significance in the vast chemistry landscape.

a science fiction of a periodic table with a periodic table top
a science fiction of a periodic table with a periodic table top

Some years ago, I recall looking at my daughter’s high school chemistry book and the periodic table of elements chart and asking what it was. That does not look like the table seen in school back in the 80’s. It seems to have a lot more squares and colors. Just the other day, I watched the old version of the TV show “To Tell the Truth” from the 1970s. The panel was asking questions about how many elements were on the table. The contents all gave different answers, and panelist Bill Cullen said when he was in school, the table had 44 elements. It was a funny part of the show, as everyone had different answers for how many elements were on the table.

This got me thinking about the origins of a table, and I wondered how many different elements have been added to it over time. I researched and found some interesting information, so I wanted to share it with others who might be curious about it, too. That’s what we do at

As I created this, I realized I should write a post explaining the TV show "To Tell the Truth” for that younger crowd. Check out the post here.

When Dmitri Mendeleev first published the periodic table in 1869, it contained 63 elements. Mendeleev's table was remarkable for its time because it organized known elements based on atomic weight and chemical properties and predicted the existence and properties of elements that had not yet been discovered.

The periodic table, a cornerstone of chemical science, has seen significant growth over the years. 1987, the table featured 105 recognized elements, with Dubnium (element 105) being the latest addition. Fast forward to 2023, and the table now boasts 118 elements, a testament to the relentless pursuit of knowledge in the field of chemistry.

Between 1987 and 2023, thirteen new elements were introduced, marking a significant era of nuclear and synthetic chemistry discovery. These elements, from Seaborgium (element 106) to Oganesson (element 118), were all synthesized in laboratories, underscoring the advanced capabilities of modern scientific research. Each element has a unique story, shedding light on the complexity and the creativity inherent in scientific discovery.

  1. Seaborgium (Sg) - Element 106: Officially recognized in 1993.

  2. Bohrium (Bh) - Element 107: Officially recognized in 1994.

  3. Hassium (Hs) - Element 108: Officially recognized in 1994.

  4. Meitnerium (Mt) - Element 109: Officially recognized in 1994.

  5. Darmstadtium (Ds) - Element 110: Officially recognized in 2001.

  6. Roentgenium (Rg) - Element 111: Officially recognized in 2003.

  7. Copernicium (Cn) - Element 112: Officially recognized in 2009.

  8. Nihonium (Nh) - Element 113: Officially recognized in 2016.

  9. Flerovium (Fl) - Element 114: Officially recognized in 2012.

  10. Moscovium (Mc) - Element 115: Officially recognized in 2016.

  11. Livermorium (Lv) - Element 116: Officially recognized in 2012.

  12. Tennessine (Ts) - Element 117: Officially recognized in 2016.

  13. Oganesson (Og) - Element 118: Officially recognized in 2016.

One of the intriguing aspects of these newly added elements is their instability and radioactivity. Unlike the 94 naturally occurring elements, these synthetic elements have very short half-lives, making them elusive and challenging to study. Their discovery and subsequent inclusion in the periodic table have expanded our chemical boundaries and opened new avenues for research in physics, material science, and other interdisciplinary fields.

The evolution of the periodic table reflects the ongoing quest for understanding the universe's fundamental building blocks. From practical applications in technology and medicine to theoretical research in quantum mechanics and atomic structure, the implications of these discoveries are vast and far-reaching.

As we celebrate the achievements in chemistry from 1987 to 2023, we also look forward to future discoveries that will continue to shape our understanding of the world at an atomic level. The periodic table, ever-growing and evolving, symbolizes human curiosity and the unending quest for knowledge.

The Royal Society of Chemistry; American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB); Chemistry LibreTexts