There’s A New Element On The Block, CoperniciumBy Diana Wehrell-Grabowski on April 1, 2010 in Science Education In The News
On February 19th, 2010, the 537th anniversary of Copernicus’ birth, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) gave its official seal of approval and announcedthat element 112 will be called Copernicium, and the symbol will be Cn. Copernicium was first seen in 1996 by German researchers under the leadership of Physicist, Sigurd Hofman at the Center for Research in Darmstadt, Germany. Physicist, Sigurd Hofman said “his team wanted to salute an influential scientist, Copernicus who did not receive much praise for his scientific work during his lifetime, as well as make the link between astronomy and nuclear chemistry.” Copernicus (19 February 1473- 24 May 1543) was the first astronomer to formulate a heliocentric model. Copernicus’ heliocentric model placed the Sun at the center of the universe versus the Earth, which was believed to be the case at the time. Copernicus’ work stimulated further scientific investigations becoming a landmark in the history of science that is often referred to as the Copernican Revolution. Copernicium is a synthetic radioactive element. It’s a heavier relative of zinc, cadmium and mercury. In total, about 75 atoms of Cn have been detected using nuclear reactions. Scientists suggest that Cn behaves like a typical member of group 12 demonstrating properties consistent with a volatile material. For the Chemistry teachers and students out there element 112 just became more personable. For more detailed information about Copernicium check out the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry website.