Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meet Copernicium

A rather fun article in the LA Times today on the newest member of the periodic table - element 112, copernicium (Cn).

Copernicium, a heavier relative of zinc, cadmium and mercury, was first seen in 1996 by researchers at the Society for Heavy Ions Research in Darmstadt, Germany, after they bombarded a lead target with zinc ions.

It took the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, which regulates nomenclature, nearly 14 years to resolve disputes between the Germans and American researchers over who was first to produce the new element, but the agency reported in the March issue of the journal Pure and Applied Chemistry that the Germans had priority and are thus entitled to propose a name.

But what made the article "fun" was all the background info on the last few named elements that made it into the periodic table, and also the still-unresolved claims of other discoveries.


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