Petition to IUPAC, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Name new element 117 Octarine, in honour of Terry Pratchett's Discworld
This petition is to name element 117, recently confirmed by the International Union of Applied Chemistry, as 'Octarine', with the proposed symbol Oc (pronounced 'ook'), in honour of the late Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series of books. The Discworld series has sold more than 70 million books worldwide, in 37 different languages. Terry Pratchett died in 2015 and his final book, The Shepherd's Crown, was published in the same year. He was well-known as a lover of science and, with two well-known science writers, co-wrote a series of four books called The Science of the Discworld, which took a sideways look at 'roundworld' (Earth) science. Octarine, in the Discworld books, is known as 'the colour of magic', which forms the title of Pratchett's first ever Discworld book. According to Disc mythology, octarine is visible only to wizards and cats, and is generally described as a sort of greenish-yellow purple colour, which seems perfect for what will probably be the final halogen in the periodic table. Octarine is also a particularly pleasing choice because, not only would it honour a world-famous and much-loved author, but it also has an 'ine' ending, consistent with the other elements in group 17. Octarine is being counted as 'a mythological concept' under IUPAC rules, which state that elements must be named after "a mythological concept or character; a mineral, or similar substance; a place or geographical region; a property of the element; or a scientist". The Discworld stories are certainly stories about gods and heroes, and 70 million books surely count for something.