New Chemical Element Could Be Named For Terry Pratchett's Color Of Magic If Petition Succeeds.
Ever since scientists confirmed the discovery of several new element to add to the periodic table, people have been debating what to name them, and book lovers have an idea. There's a petition to name the new element after Terry Pratchett's color of magic, "octarine." It certainly would be a fitting tribute to the literary giant who passed away just a few months ago. Plus it's pretty awesome name.
Now that the four new elements, which have 113, 115, 117, and 118 protons, the teams that first created them get the honor of naming them. There are lots of names being considered, but one petition hopes to name number 117 after the color of magic in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. The color, which is called octarine, is described in the first book of the series, The Colour of Magic, as “the King Colour, of which all the lesser colours are merely partial and wishy-washy reflections. ... It was alive and glowing and vibrant and it was the undisputed pigment of the imagination." So all and all not a bad way to honor the wonder and majesty of scientific discovery.
The petition was started by chemist Dr Kat Day, who also runs the blog The Chronicle Flask. In the petition she started, Day writes,
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.
She also notes that the name fits with International Union of Applied Chemistry naming guidelines, and that the late great Terry Pratchett was himself "well-known as a lover of science."
So it seems the name would be fitting all around.
As of press time, the petition has over 40,000 signatures. If passed, it would be the first element who derives its name from popular literature. Which is also pretty darn cool.