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Dr.Trout the brilliant,but rather erratic chemist is preparing for his Amazing American Chemistry Extravaganza. He's spent so much time preparing for it,that he's forgotten to feed the lab mice.

They've started chomping through the nearest sheet of papers. That's unfortunate,as it happens to be the list of elements he must take with him.Perhaps you can help him work out which ones he needs-there are three missing.

Samples I must take

Argon,Molybdenum,Mendelevium,Scandium,***NIBBLE****

***NIBBLE**** Cobalt,Lanthanum,Indium,Manganese,Protactinium

Neodymium,Meitnerium,***NIBBLE****,Gallium

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I can't definitively narrow it down beyond 5.

Aluminum, Calcium, Flerovium, Neon, and Nihonium.

There happen to be

exactly 17 elements whose abbreviations are also abbreviations of US states. Of those 17, 12 are in the list of required samples. Given the "Amazing American Chemistry Extravaganza" name, if that's a coincidence I'll start eating the papers myself.

However,

I can't figure out any commonality between the elements named.
OP has clarified that the three lines of elements are not groupings, so we're just looking for three elements, presumably out of these five, that complete the list.

So, here, I speculate. The names for the elements Nihonium and Flerovium have only recently been officially adopted—both elements were first officially recognized as being discovered in 2004, and their names officially adopted by IUPAC in 2012 (Fl) and 2016 (Nh); prior to 2012, neither was formally on the periodic table. If we assume, without justification provided in the puzzle, that these events take place before that year or only concern elements that were officially named before that year (but after 1997, as Meitnerium is on the list), then we would exclude those 2 elements. Our missing elements thus would be:

Aluminum, Calcium, and Neon.

I must say, though, I'm impressed at the specificity with which these rodents have consumed the writing on this page! :)

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    $\begingroup$ Just to clarify-you are not looking to find which element is in which group-you have to find the three elements which could go in any of the holes(as it were...) $\endgroup$ – Kit-Ginevra Jan 31 '18 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the question is set before Flerovium and Nihonium were names? $\endgroup$ – Ry- Jan 31 '18 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Kit-Ginevra: Is this answer not right? $\endgroup$ – Ry- Feb 8 '18 at 19:48

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