That's right folks, the recently recreated element 112, which was temporarily known as Ununbium, has finally got it's official name. And it is, drumroll please....Copernicium! Named after Nicolaus Copernicus (who may or may not be the lovechild of Michael Phelps and Andy Samberg), the decision was a throwback to honor one of the world's greatest wizards (suck it, Harry!).
By choosing to honor the father of the heliocentric solar system, element 112 discovery team leader Sigurd Hofmann wanted to avoid the divisive names selected for past elements, salute an influential scientist who didn't receive any accolades in his own lifetime, and highlight the link between astronomy and Hofmann's own field of nuclear chemistry.
The idea was to go backwards, to honor someone who was not greatly honored in his lifetime," said Hofmann. "[Copernicus] had to be very careful when he was publishing his works. His book was published the day of his death. He was afraid to make his announcements during his lifetime, so he wasn't honored when he was alive."
Ironically, Popular Science, the website where I got the story, erroneously called the new element Copernicum, which is something entirely different. Oh yeah baby, talk retrograde to me.
Newly Discovered Element 112 Named "Copernicum" [popsci]
Thanks to Ari, who, despite a valiant effort, didn't get enough signatures on the petition to name the element Geekologyn.