Friday, July 17, 2009

Ununbium gets a proper name

With IUPAC officially recognising discovery of element 112, a lot of news articles (such as this one) appeared hailing the “new element”. Of course, only the name copernicium (in honour of Nicolaus Copernicus) is new; the element was discovered in 1996 and was known as ununbium (Uub). The proposed symbol for this metal is Cp, probably not the best choice considering that Cp is widely used as a shorthand for cyclopentadienyl group — imagine we have enough copernicium to synthesise bis(cyclopentadienyl)copernicium, Cp2Cp! Fear not — according to WebElements,

as only a few atoms of element 112 have ever been made (through a nuclear reaction involving fusing a zinc atom with a lead atom) isolation of an observable quantity has never been achieved, and may well never be.

1 comment:

eutactic said...

Have we learned nothing from actinium acetate?. Whilst Copernicium is a good name imho, Cn would have made a better symbol as that can only be confused with a class of point groups rather than another chemical species.