Nuclear reactions - Discovery

Soon after the discovery of radioactive decay, nuclear reactions induced by radioactive rays were observed. A keen sense of observation and accurate conclusion are the key to these discoveries.

In 1919, E. Marsden and E. Rutherford saw some tracks of positively charged particles that were different from those of alpha particles, in the vicinity of the alpha particle source.

They concluded that "the nitrogen atom is disintegrated under the intense force developed in a close collision with a swift alpha particle".

14N (a, p) 17O Soon after, F. Joliot and I. Curie discovered the reaction, 27Al (a, n) 30P ( , b+ or EC) 30Si around 1929 when John D. Cockroft and Ernest T.S. Walton devised an accelerator in the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, England. They achieved the reaction 7Li + p ® 2 a They have smashed the lithium atom into two pieces by energetic proton.

E-mail: cchieh@uwaterloo.ca