We now have the essentials to utilize radioactive elements. Roentgen gave us x-rays, Becquerel discovered radioactivity, the Curies were able to discover which elements were radioactive, and Rutherford brought about transmutation and the “splitting of the atom.” All of these discoveries and curiosity came with a price. Time showed the damaging effects of radiation exposure and the incredible destruction that could be harnessed from these elements.(1 year ago) 1 note
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Rontgen, Wilhelm Conrad - born March 27, 1845, Lennep, Prussia [now Remscheid, Ger.] d. Feb. 10, 1923, Munich - German physicist who was a recipient of the first Nobel Prize for Physics, in 1901, for his discovery of X rays, which heralded the age of modern physics and revolutionized diagnostic medicine.
(Source: laboratoryequipment)(1 year ago) 30 notes
Radioactive isotopes are presently used in many aspects of human life today. Most people recognize radioactivity’s contributions to industry, research and war, but it is even used within many peoples homes. Here are a few examples of how radioactive isotopes are utilized today.(1 year ago)
Most people have radioactive material in their very own homes, or at least we would hope so. Why? Because in most every smoke detector unit today there is a very small amount of Americium-241. How does it work? Well Americium-241 is present in the detector in oxide form and it emits alpha particles and very low energy gamma rays. The alpha rays are absorbed in the detector, while the non-harmful gamma rays are able to escape. The alpha particles collide with oxygen and nitrogen in the air of the detector’s ionization chamber producing charged particles, or ions. A small electric voltage runs across the chamber which is used to collect these ions and operate a small electric current between two electrodes. When smoke enters the chamber it absorbs the alpha particles disrupting the rate of ionization in the chamber, thereby turning off the electrical current, which sets off the alarm.(1 year ago)
- Metal casting can be tested for cracks by putting them in baths of radioactive salts. The castings are then inspected for radioactivity to find out any penetration of salts into cracks. Absence of salt penetration indicates absence of cracks.
- Radioactive isotopes can be used to detect any leakage in underground pipes carrying oils, gas or water. To check the point of leakage a small quantity of compound of radioactive isotope is introduced at the starting place and the detector is moved along the pipe. At the point of crack or leakage, the detector will show high level of radiations.
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On June 7th 1954 the the USSR produced the world’s very first nuclear power plant. These plants, though clean burning, produce a great deal of toxic nuclear waste which is difficult to eliminate. To date, approximately 15% of the worlds electricity and 6% of the worlds power is produced in nuclear power plants. With the rise in gas prices many countries around the world considered increasing their use nuclear energy. The problem with nuclear energy is that although it is “clean” in the sense that only water vapor is emitted into the atmosphere, it has its share of problems. It must be kept constantly regulated, and is extremely hard to dispose of. In the past, poor regulation of nuclear power has caused major problems, such as the Chernobyl incident in 1986. Even when regulated properly, the waste can cause contamination which lasts for many years and destroys natural resources.