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The Discovery Of Radioactivity: The Dawn of the Nuclear Age

Slides




Carbon 12

Carbon 12 is the stable isotope of carbon that contains the same number of protons and neutrons. It forms 98.9 percent of natural carbon. It occurs freely as diamond, graphite and coal. Slide by Environmental, Health and Safety at Genentech, Inc.


Carbon 16

Carbon 16 is an example of an isotope of carbon. Note: there is the same number of protons as carbon 12 and a different number of neutrons. Many, but not all, isotopes are radioactive, that is, the nuclei emits particles. Slide by Environmental, Health and Safety at Genentech, Inc.


Three Types of Radioactivity

There are three types of radioactivity. Gamma rays come from the nucleus of the atom of a radioactive isotope. They are the most energetic and most penetrating of all radiation. Some radiation travel as particles not waves and is also emitted by the radioactive isotope. One is alpha particles that lose energy quickly. A hand or thin piece of paper stops it. Beta particles are high speed electrons that travel close to the speed of light and can penetrate a hand but not concrete. Slide by Environmental, Health and Safety at Genentech, Inc.


Radiation

Radiation is energy in motion. Not only does radiation come from elements in the form of radioactivity, some come from our natural environment, others from human activities and devices. Slide by Environmental, Health and Safety at Genentech, Inc.


Isotopes

Isotopes are used in modern medicine for research purposes and diagnose diseases. In this picture a researcher is working with a radioactive isotope in a laboratory. A number of precautions are required to protect the person from too large a dose of the radioactive material. Slide by Environmental, Health and Safety at Genentech, Inc.


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