IUPAC welcomes Copernicium to the fold

Element number 112 has officially been named Copernicium, 14 years after it was first created in Germany. Several famous scientists have been honoured by having elements named after them, and the latest is Nicolaus Copernicus, best known for discovering that the Earth rotates around the Sun. The team at Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (Center for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt, proposed the name citing the lack of recognition Copernicus received in his own lifetime, and the importance of the solar system model as an analogy for the Bohr model of atomic structure. GSI have also been responsible for the creation of Meitnerium, Hassium, Darmstadtium, Roentgenium and Bohrium.

The symbol for Copernicium is Cn, chosen over the initial proposal of Cp because element 71, lutetium used to be known as Cassiopeium (Cp). A secondary reason may have been the common usage of the symbol Cp to represent the common ligand cyclopentadiene.

Principal investigator, Sigurd Hofman, according to Wikipedia prefers the pronunciation of Copernicium with a soft second ‘c’, in line with the pronunciation of Americium. I suspect he feels, as do I, that it rolls off the tongue much more fluidly this way.

If you are intested, the short IUPAC Provisional Recommendation report is available here.



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