The officially endorsing organization, the IUPAC, will discuss the appropriateness of its new permanent-but-not-yet-official name, and by January 2010 the chemical element will probably be officially endorsed with its new name.
German, Russian, Slovakia, and Finnish scientists led by German scientists Sigurd Hofmann and Victor Ninov discovered the chemical element 112 at the Gesellschaft fur Schwerionenforschung (GSI, or Center for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt, Germany on February 9, 1996.
They decided to name it after Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (February 19, 1473-May 24, 1543), the first astronomer to propose a "heliocentric" system, one in which the Sun, not the Earth, is at the center.
Copernicus is regarded as the scientist that began modern astronomy.
In addition, the discoverers decided the element’s symbol would be Cp. They wanted “… to honor an outstanding scientist who changed our view of the world.” [GSI: “Element 112 shall be named ‘copernicium’”]
According to the GSI article, “Twenty-one scientists from Germany, Finland, Russia and Slovakia have been involved in the experiments that led to the discovery of element 112.”
The summary of their work with copernicium is written in the article “The new element 112,” which appears in the journal Zeitschrift fur Physik A Hadrons and Nuclei.
Page two concludes.
The International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the chemistry organization that determines names for elements in the periodic table, along with their compounds, recognized the name copernicium in June 2009, will now consider the naming of this new element.
One of the main considerations by the IUPAC is whether the name “copernicium” has an inappropriate meaning in some language of the world.
The six-month period of discussion will allow scientists to discuss the suitability of the name.
About 75 atoms of ununbium (copernicium) have so far been detected with the use of various forms of nuclear reactions.
Copernicium is about 277 times heavier than hydrogen. It is produced by nuclear fusion, after colliding zinc ions with a lead target.