Element 112 Gets A Starcrossed Name!

It may have taken more than four and a half centuries, but astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus will finally get his day in the scientific sun (No pun intended) - The newest element in the periodic table will bear his name.

We reported on the discovery of the new superheavy element 112 last month, and invited you to suggest some possible names it could take on for its adoption into the periodic table, but Sigurd Hofmann's team from the Centre for Heavy Ion Research decided to come up with their own name for the element they discovered: Copernicium (Cp).

Officially, the name still needs to be approved by the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry, but it stands a good chance, following their suggestion that element names should ideally be named "after a mythological concept or character (including an astronomical object), a mineral, or similar substance, a place or geographical region, a property of the element, or a scientist," and end in "-ium".

Copernicus is considered the father of modern astronomy, thanks to his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium ("On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres"), which argued that Earth was not the center of the universe but, instead, orbited around the sun, published in 1543, the same year that he died at the age of 70.

Copernicus gets his place on the periodic table [New Scientist]