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Unformatted text preview: For over the last 100 years, radioactivity has been a major research field in science. It was first introduced to the world in 1896 by the French scientist Henri Becquerel. Hence, the SI unit for radiation, the Becquerel , is named after him today. He discovered that uranium salts were able to blacken a photographic plate placed in the dark, even through a paper barrier. After completing the steps of the scientific method, Becquerel was able to find three distinct types of radiation -- alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays. He found that alpha particles have a positive charge, beta particles possess a negative charge, and gamma rays boast a neutral charge. Henri Becquerel was able to postulate that radioactivity is the process whereby unstable atomic nuclei release energetic subatomic particles (Wisegeek). The word radioactivity is also used to refer to the subatomic particles themselves. It is a random process, meaning it is physically impossible to predict whether its given atomic nucleus will decay and emit radiation at any given...
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- Spring '09