The Discovery of Artificial Radioactivity

  title={The Discovery of Artificial Radioactivity},
  author={Francesco Guerra and Matteo Leone and Nadia Robotti},
  journal={Physics in Perspective},
We reconstruct Frédéric Joliot and Irène Curie’s discovery of artificial radioactivity in January 1934 based in part on documents preserved in the Joliot–Curie Archives in Paris, France. We argue that their discovery followed from the convergence of two parallel lines of research, on the neutron and on the positron, that were focused on a well-defined experimental problem, the nuclear transmutation of aluminum and other light elements. We suggest that a key role was played by a suggestion that… 
9 Citations
International Scientific Cooperation During the 1930s. Bruno Rossi and the Development of the Status of Cosmic Rays into a Branch of Physics
A glimpse of the intersection between national and international dimensions during the 1930s is provided, at a time when the study of cosmic rays was still very much in its infancy, strongly interlaced with nuclear physics, and full of uncertain, contradictory, and puzzling results.
Dick Crane’s California Days
Horace Richard Crane (1907–2007) was born and educated in California. His childhood was full of activities that helped him become an outstanding experimental physicist. As a graduate student at the
International scientific cooperation during the 1930 s . Bruno Rossi and the development of the status of cosmic rays into a branch of physics
International scientific cooperation during the 1930s. Bruno Rossi and the development of the status of cosmic rays into a branch of physics Abstract During the 1920s and 1930s, Italian physicists
The Seventh Solvay Conference: Nuclear Physics, Intellectual Migration, and Institutional Influence
I discuss the founding of the Solvay Conferences in Physics by Ernest Solvay in Brussels in 1911 and then turn to the seventh Solvay Conference in October 1933. I show how it lay at the crossroads in
1930–1940: A Dazzling Development
The physics of the atomic nucleus becomes a primary concern of physicists. One Russian and two Americans show how the recent quantum mechanics can explain an enigma in α-decay: the Geige-Nuttall law.
Joseph Rotblat: Moral Dilemmas and the Manhattan Project
John Fitzgerald Kennedy famously said, “One man can make a difference and every man should try.”1 Joseph Rotblat (1908–2005) was the quintessence of Kennedy’s conviction. He was the only scientist
Atomic Nanogenerators in Targeted Alpha Therapies: Curie’s Legacy in Modern Cancer Management
In this review, the current knowledge on the scientific and clinical background of targeted alpha therapies with atomic in vivo nanogenerators is summarized and open issues and novel approaches with a focus on the future perspective are discussed.
A Short History of Nuclear Physics to the Mid-1930s
  • B. Reed
  • Physics
    The History and Science of the Manhattan Project
  • 2019
Until the late 1930s, the study of radioactivity and nuclear physics were relatively low-profile academic research fields whose applications were limited primarily to medical treatments such as


Enrico Fermi’s Discovery of Neutron-Induced Artificial Radioactivity:The Influence of His Theory of Beta Decay
We analyze the influence of Enrico Fermi’s theory of beta decay, which he formulated in December 1933, on his experimental discovery of neutron-induced artificial radioactivity four months later, in
Frédéric Joliot, Irène Curie and the early history of the positron (1932–33)
As is well known, the positron was discovered in August 1932 by Carl Anderson while studying cloud chamber tracks left by cosmic rays. Far less known is the fact that a few months before Anderson's
The Seventh Solvay Conference: Nuclear Physics at the Crossroads
The seventh Solvay Conference, held at the Free University of Brussels from October 22–29, 1933,1 occupies a place in the history of nuclear physics similar to the one that the first Solvay
Production of Induced Radioactivity by High Velocity Protons
CURIE and Joliot1 have reported that a number of new radioactive isotopes can be produced by the bombardment of various elements with α-particles, these isotopes emitting positive electrons. In
Mass-Energy and the Neutron in the Early Thirties
The Argument Einstein's mass-energy relationship was not confirmed experimentally until 1933 when Bainbridge showed that the Cockcroft-Walton experiment afforded a test of it. Earlier, however, it
Artificial Production of a New Kind of Radio-Element
The latest experiments have shown a very striking fact: when an aluminium foil is irradiated on a polonium preparation, the emission of positrons does not cease immediately, when the active preparation is removed, as for an ordinary radio-element.
Chemical evidence of the transmutation of elements
  • Physics
  • 1999
The interpretation of our first experiments was founded, as Madame JoliotCurie has just explained, on facts of a purely physical order. We have considered the possibility, by using the methods of
Bakerian lecture.―The neutron
1. In an earlier paper I showed that the radiations excited in certain light elements by the bombardment of α -particles consist, at least in part, of particles which have a mass about the same as
A ‘Nuclear Photo-effect’: Disintegration of the Diplon by γ-Rays
BY analogy with the excitation and ionisation of atoms by light, one might expect that any complex nucleus should be excited or ‘ionised’, that is, disintegrated, by y-rays of suitable energy.
Some Photographs of the Tracks of Penetrating Radiation
We have recently developed a method by which the high speed particles associated with penetrating radiation can be made to take their own cloud photographs. By this means it is possible to obtain