Motorhead fans campaign for newly discovered element to be called ‘Lemmium’

motorhead fans campaign for newly discovered element to be called lemmium lemmy
Robert John Photography / Motorhead's Facebook
Lemmy’s dead but the rock star could live on with his own place on the periodic table.

Is that what he would’ve wanted? We have no idea, but hardcore Motorhead fan John Wright nevertheless decided to launch a campaign calling for one of several recently discovered heavy metal elements to be named “Lemmium.”

The Brit’s online petition, which went live little more than a week ago, has just hit the 100,000 mark, with one signee commenting: “Finally some science stuff I would understand and actually remember.”

The new elements were verified by scientists in the U.S., Japan, and Russia at the end of last year, just days after the death of Motorhead’s fast-living frontman. The elements are expected to be officially named by the summer.

Wright said in his petition: “Heavy rock lost its most iconic figure over Christmas with the sudden and unexpected death of Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister.” He described Lemmy as “a force of nature and the very essence of heavy metal,” adding it would be “fitting” for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) to go with the name “Lemmium” for one of its newly discovered elements, all of which are “highly unstable,” according to Chemistry World.

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Motorhead fans could one day see their hero immortalized in the periodic table, appearing alongside the likes of rhenium, hafnium, and samarium.

While strict rules are in place governing the kind of names that can be given to new elements, they can be inspired by things like nature, mythology, places, and, importantly, people. People like Lemmy.

“The symbol is particularly important,” IUPAC’s Lynn Soby told Chemistry World on Thursday, adding, “They have to go through all the archives to check if it has ever been used before. It has to be unique.” Lemmium. Surely that’s unique.

For Lemmy fans, the idea of calling one of the scientists’ new discoveries Lemmium just feels right – it’s a heavy metal, it was announced just after his death, and as Wright says, it would be a wonderful tribute to one of rock’s most colorful figures.

You never know, if there’s a very persuasive Motorhead fan on IUPAC’s selection committee, this one could just make it through.


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