Radioactivity - Note-A-Rific: Radioactivity History Alpha...

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Note-A-Rific: Radioactivity History Alpha Beta Gamma History In 1896 Henri Becquerel found that a certain rock had special properties. Caused a photographic plate (old fashioned type of film) to go dark, as if it had been exposed to light. The rock must be emitting some new kind of radiation, even though we can’t see it. Weird part is you don’t need to do anything to make the rock emit the radiation. The rock that Becquerel was using contained traces of uranium. Shortly after this, Marie and Pierre Curie isolated two other radioactive elements, polonium and radium . No matter what physical or chemical stresses they placed on these elements, they continued to emit radiation. Since nothing they did could stop the radioactivity, they believed that the radioactivity must come from deep within the atom. Radioactivity actually results from the decay (disintegration) of an unstable nucleus . They were talking about a process that fundamentally changes the atoms of the element itself. Where chemical reactions involve the rearrangement of electrons, radioactivity involves the rearrangement of nucleons! Note : in 1934, after having received two Nobel Prizes (Physics & Chemistry), Marie Curie died of leukemia from years of exposure to radioactive elements. Ernest Rutherford and others started studying the radiation that was emitted by these elements. Found three distinct forms of radiation, based on their ability to pass through objects and their deflection in magnetic fields… 1. Alpha ( α ): could barely pass through a single sheet of paper. Deflected as a positive particle in a magnetic field. 2.
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This note was uploaded on 02/29/2012 for the course PHYS 227 taught by Professor Rabe during the Fall '08 term at Rutgers.

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Radioactivity - Note-A-Rific: Radioactivity History Alpha...

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