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Copernicium or Ununbium Facts

Chemical & Physical Properties of Copernicium

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Nicolaus Copernicus was the astronomer who proposed the heliocentric model of the solar system.

Nicolaus Copernicus was the astronomer who proposed the heliocentric model of the solar system.

Portrait from Toruń, early 16th century.
Periodic Table of the Elements

Copernicium or Ununbium

Atomic Number: 112

Symbol: Cn

Atomic Weight: [277]

Discovery: Hofmann, Ninov et al. GSI-Germany 1996

Electron Configuration: [Rn] 5f14 6d10 7s2

Name Origin: Named for Nicolaus Copernicus, who proposed the heliocentric solar system. The discoverers of copernicum wanted the element's name to honor a famous scientist who did not get much recognition during his own liferime. Also, Hofmann and his team wished to honor the importance of nuclear chemistry to other scientific fields, such as astrophysics.

Properties: The chemistry of copernicum is expected to be similar to that of the elements zinc, cadmium, and mercury. In contrast to the lighter elements, element 112 decays after a fraction of a thousandth of a second by emitting alpha particles to first become an isotope of element 110 with atomic mass 273, and then an isotope of hassium with atomic mass 269. The decay chain has been followed for three more alpha-decays to fermium.

Sources: Element 112 was produced by fusing (melting together) a zinc atom with a lead atom. The zinc atom was accelerated to high energies by a heavy ion accelerator and directed onto a lead target.

Element Classification: Transition Metal

References: Los Alamos National Laboratory (2001), Crescent Chemical Company (2001), Lange's Handbook of Chemistry (1952), CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics (18th Ed.)

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