Berlin, Feb 25 (ANI): Reports indicate that the heaviest recognized chemical element with the atomic number 112 has officially been named "Copernicium" and carries the chemical symbol "Cn".
The element was discovered at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum fur Schwerionenforschung in Germany on February 9, 1996, by an international team of scientists headed by Sigurd Hofmann.
Using the 100-meter long GSI accelerator, they fired zinc ions onto a lead foil. The fusion of the atomic nuclei of the two elements produced an atom of the new element 112.
This atom was only stable for the fraction of a second.
The scientists were able to identify the new element by measuring the alpha particles emitted during the radioactive decay of the atom with the help of highly sensitive analytical procedures.
Further independent experiments confirmed the discovery of the element.
Last year, IUPAC officially recognized the existence of element 112, acknowledged the GSI team's discovery and invited them to propose a name.
The name "Copernicium", which honors scientist and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, was approved and officially announced by the international union for chemistry IUPAC.
This follows the tradition of naming chemical elements after merited scientists.
IUPAC accepted the name proposed by the international discovering team around Sigurd Hofmann at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum.
The team had suggested "Cp" as the chemical symbol for the new element.
However, since the chemical symbol "Cp" gave cause for concerns, as this abbreviation also has other scientific meanings, the discoverers and IUPAC agreed to change the symbol to "Cn".
Copernicium is 277 times heavier than hydrogen, making it the heaviest element officially recognized by IUPAC. (ANI)