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Copernicium is a synthetic chemical element with symbol Cn and atomic number 112. It is an extremely radioactive element, and can only be created in a laboratory. The most stable known isotope, copernicium-285, has a half-life of approximately 29 seconds. Copernicium was first created in 1996 by the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research near Darmstadt, Germany. It is named after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
In the periodic table of the elements, copernicium is a d-block transactinide element. During reactions with gold, it has been shown to be an extremely volatile metal and a group 12 element, so much so that it is probably a gas at standard temperature and pressure.
Copernicium is calculated to have several properties that differ from its lighter homologues in group 12, zinc, cadmium and mercury; due to relativistic effects, it may even give up its 6d electrons instead of its 7s ones. Copernicium has also been calculated to possibly show the oxidation state +4, while mercury shows it in only one compound of disputed existence and zinc and cadmium do not show it at all, although more recent calculations cast doubt on this possibility. It has also been predicted to be more difficult to oxidize copernicium from its neutral state than the other group 12 elements.