09.02.2011 | Copernicium - 15 years ago element 112 was discovered
Element 112 was discovered by an international team of scientists headed by professor Sigurd Hofmann at GSI Helmholtzzentrum on February 9, 1996.
Copernicium is 277 times heavier than hydrogen and therefore the heaviest element officially recognized in the periodic table. It was produced at an over 100 m long accelerator at GSI, while the researchers fired charged zinc atoms onto a lead foil. The fusion of two atomic nuclei produced an atom of the new element 112.
The name Copernicium follows a longstanding tradition of choosing an accomplished scientist as eponym. Nicholas Copernicus's astronomical work was a starting point for our modern worldview, which states that the sun is the center of our solar system.