Mar
20
2010

Copernicium - element Atomic Number 112

Copernicium 112
Copernicium 112Courtesy GregRobson

Heaviest named element is finally official

Copernicium was officially named February 19, 2010 as element number 112. This element was first created on February 9, 1996 by firing accelerated zinc-70 nuclei at a target made of lead-208 nuclei in a heavy ion accelerator.

This was no easy process: You can’t just shoot one atom at another and expect the atoms to buddy up. In 1996, Sigurd Hofmann and his team had to figure out a way to get all the protons together — and stick. They used a machine, called the Universal Linear Accelerator, that can accelerate atoms up to 10 percent the speed of light. After a week of working on these high-speed collisions, Hofmann’s team found copernicum — even though it quickly vanished. Science News

Copernicium (Cn) takes its place on the periodic chart with a group of metals including zinc, cadmium, and mercury. With two electrons in its outer shell, it has 112 protons and atomic weight of 285.

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