Essay on The Existence of Radiation

Essay on The Existence of Radiation

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Radiation has existed throughout the entire existence of earth. Scientists did not know about radiation until very recently because radioactive materials look the same as non-radioactive materials. It was not until February of 1896, when a French scientist named Antoine Henri Becquerel did an experiment using naturally fluorescent minerals to study x-ray properties, which were discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen, that scientists became aware of the existence of radioactivity. Becquerel “exposed potassium uranyl sulfate to sunlight, and the uranium-bearing crystals were later exposed” The Discovery of Radioactivity. (accessed 3/15/14) long enough, placed the crystals on photographic plates, which were wrapped in black paper. He believed the uranium would absorb the sun’s energy and emitted it as x-rays. His hypothesis seemed to be correct when the crystals produced an image on the plate. However, the next few days in Paris were overcast, so Becquerel placed the photographic plate and the crystals in a closed drawer. When he came back, the crystals had produced a strong, clear image on the plate, “proving that the uranium emitted radiation without an external source of energy such as the sun.” The Discovery of Radioactivity., (accessed 3/15/14). Becquerel then used a similar apparatus to prove the radiation he discovered was not x-rays. X-rays are neutral, and, therefore, cannot bend in a magnetic field. When different substances were placed in a magnetic field, the particles deflected in different directions, proving that radiation can have a positive, negative, or neutral electrical charge.
Becquerel did not continue pursui...

... middle of paper ...

... the chemical structure of the element into another element. After half of the radioactive element has decayed, there will be half of a different element and half of the original element. The two elements would not be split exactly halfway through the material. Instead, the element atoms are spread throughout the entire material.

Works Cited

Radioactivity. (accessed 3/14/14).
Radioactive Half-life. 3/12/14).
The Discovery of Radioactivity. (accessed 3/15/14).
The Discovery of Radioactivity., (accessed 3/15/14).
The Discovery of Radioactivity. (accessed 3/15/14

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