By Sean KanePosted 11.18.2011 at 10:21 am 7 Comments
Two international teams are competing to create the heaviest element in the universe. Super-heavy elements are the elements at the bottom of the periodic table with an atomic number (the number of protons) above 104. The previous heaviest element, temporarily called ununoctium, was "discovered" in 2002, and the two teams are now attempting to produce elements 119 and 120.
When we talked with element 112's discoverer, Sigurd Hofmann, on the significance of making a permanent mark on the periodic table, he told us he wanted a moniker that recognized a famous scientist while avoiding the flag-waving nationalism normally associated with the process. Today, Hofmann and his team made their decision public.
Good bye element 112 and ununbium, its placeholder name. Hello "Copernicium."