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What´s Radioactivity and What can it be used for?

Powerful Essays
Radioactivity has the connotation of being extremely dangerous. In many situations, it is. However, it also can be wonderfully helpful. Radioactivity has been used for both good and bad causes. It remains one of the most fascinating phenomena that humans have discovered and replicated: the splitting of the atom. My question was: What is radioactivity and what can it be used for?
In 1896, a French man named Henri Becquerel accidentally discovered radioactivity. He put uranium crystals with paper-covered photographic plates. He found that the crystals had clouded the plates when they were developed. Becquerel was extremely excited by this discovery. He called the rays “uranic rays” and assumed they came exclusively from the element uranium.
The scientist Marie Curie became curious about “uranic rays” and began to research them. She worked with her husband to invent a machine that measured weak electric currents so she could test different rock samples for the rays. Curie found the element thorium, which emitted the same rays as Becquerel’s uranium samples. Curie also found the rays were stronger the more uranium was in the sample, that the rays were not an effect of stored up heat or light, and that temperature had no effect on the rays. After a large amount of meticulous research, she decided the rays were an effect of a new property of matter: radioactivity. The word radioactivity is from the Latin word “radius”, which means ray. Marie Curie’s curiosity led her to conduct still more studies on this mysterious property known as radioactivity. She found that a sample of a rock called pitchblende that was very radioactive, and remained radioactive even after most of the uranium in the sample was removed. The strength of its radioa...

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...tes a larger amount of energy. The first nuclear fission reactor was created by a team lead by Enrico Fermi in Chicago in 1942. It used naturally occurring uranium (uranium-225) to create uranium-235. Fermi is also known for the Fermi Paradox and his work on the Manhattan Project. Nuclear energy can be used as a source of electricity.
The project of the nuclear bomb created a great deal of fear of radioactivity, but that fear has begun to dissipate. Radioactivity has a large amount of uses that could improve the world, instead of cause fear. Nuclear reactors currently are the source of one fifth of the world’s power, and this could increase to one fourth by the end of the century. It is used daily in medical procedures and other projects. The small change in an atom we call radioactivity has changed the world drastically since Henri Becquerel found his clouded film.
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