Monday, July 20, 2009

112 = Cp

Finally, 13 years after it was first discovered, element 112 has a name. The team of scientists who discovered this element in fusion experiments in 1996 decided to name the element after the man "who changed our world view" and the IUPAC will endorse "copernicium" (Cp) in around 6 months, giving the scientific community time to discuss the name.

Nicolaus Copernicus was the man who proposed in his De revolutionibus orbium coelestium the heliocentric model whereby the planets actually orbit the sun, not the Earth - a fact that was pivotal in discovering and understanding gravity and in realising that the stars are a great distance away and that the Universe is, well, rather large. This publication was one of the major starting points for the scientific revolution of the 16th century.

De revolutionibus orbium coelestium was delayed for publication by Copernicus until just before his death, likely reason for this delay was that the religious narrowmindedness of the time would have resulted in religious persecution because of his findings.

We all need to have a beer/bourbon/scotch/coffee/water/whatever in honor of scientists like Copernicus who have enlightened us. The mind is a wonderful thing and scientific principle is a wonderful way to develop our minds.


The Outspoken Wookie

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