Radioactivity: Introduction and History


  • Michael L'Annunziata, The Montague Group, Oceanside, California, USA
  • Michael L'Annunziata, The Montague Group, Oceanside, California, USA

Radioactivity: Introduction and History provides an introduction to radioactivity from natural and artificial sources on earth and radiation of cosmic origins. This book answers many questions for the student, teacher, and practitioner as to the origins, properties, detection and measurement, and applications of radioactivity. Written at a level that most students and teachers can appreciate, it includes many calculations that students and teachers may use in class work. Radioactivity: Introduction and History also serves as a refresher for experienced practitioners who use radioactive sources in his or her field of work. Also included are historical accounts of the lives and major achievements of many famous pioneers and Nobel Laureates who have contributed to our knowledge of the science of radioactivity.
View full description


Undergraduate/graduate students, teachers and practitioners interested in the basics of radioactivity and nuclear radiation


Book information

  • Published: July 2007
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-444-52715-8


CHOICE Magazine, July 2008: "This work provides an overview of the many interesting aspects of the science of radioactive decays, including in-depth chapters that offer reminiscences on the history and important personalities of the field ... The book can be useful as supplemental reading or as a reference when developing course material for nuclear physics, nuclear engineering, or health physics lectures. Special attention has been given to a chapter on the role radioactivity plays in everyday life applications...Generally the book is well produced and will be a valuable resource for the history of radioactivity. Many lectures can be lightened up by including material from this work. Summing up: RECOMMENDED. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals; technical program students." --U. Greife, Colorado School of Mines, USA "I found the biographical accounts of the various stalwarts of Physics inspirational. Most of them, if not all, had to overcome economic hardships or personal tragedies or had to do their ground breaking work in the face of tyranny and war. The biographies also highlighted the high standards of moral convictions that the scientists had as they realized the grave implications of some of their work and the potential threat to humanity. This ought to inspire and motivate young men and women aspiring to be Physicists. Even people who have been in the field for a while should find your book re-energizing. It certainly had that effect on me." --Dr. Ramkumar Venkataraman, Canberra Industries, Inc., Meriden, CT, USA.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Prof. Dr. W. Burkart,Deputy Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna
Introduction: Radioactivity and our Well BeingRadioactivity Hall of Fame – Part I Democritus (c.460-c.370 B.C.), W.C. Rontgen (1845-1923), H. Becquerel (1852-1908), Pierre (1859-1906) and Marie Curie (1867-1934), P. Villard (1860-1934), E. Rutherford (1871-1937), H.A. Lorentz (1853-1928), P. Zeeman (1865-1943), J.J. Thomson (1856-1940), P. Lenard (1862-1947) Chapter 1. Alpha RadiationI. IntroductionII. Decay EnergiesIII. Alpha Particle Interactions with MatterIV. Alpha Particle RangesRadioactivity Hall of Fame – Part IIF. Soddy (1877-1956), C.T.R. Wilson (1869-1959), F. Joliet (1900-1958) and I. Joliet-Curie (1897-1956), E. Fermi (1901-1954), W. Pauli (1900-1958), F. Reines (1918-1998) and C. Cowan, Jr. (1919-1974)Chapter 2. Beta RadiationI. IntroductionII. NegatronsIII. PositronsIV. Beta-particle Absorption and TransmissionV. Stopping Power and Linear Energy TransferRadioactivity Hall of Fame – Part IIIM. Planck (1858-1947), L. de Broglie (1892-1987), A. Einstein (1879-1955), A.H. Compton (1892-1962), M. von Laue (1879-1960), Sir W.H. Bragg (1862-1942) and Sir W.L. Bragg (1890-1971), H.G.J. Moseley (1887-1915), C.G. Barkla (1877-1944), M. Siegbahn (1886-1978), R.A. Millikan (1868-1953)Chapter 3. Gamma- and X-Radiation – PhotonsI. IntroductionII. Dual Nature: Wave and ParticleIII. Gamma RadiationIV. Annihilation RadiationV. Cherenkov RadiationVI. X-RadiationVII. BremsstrahlungVIII. Interactions of Electromagnetic Radiation with MatterRadioactivity Hall of Fame – Part IVJ. Chadwick (1891-1974), L. Meitner (1878-1968 and O. Hahn (1879-1968), L. Szilard (1898-1964)Chapter 4. Neutron RadiationI. IntroductionII. Neutron ClassificationIII. Sources of NeutronsIV. Interactions of Neutrons with MatterV. Neutron Attenuation and Cross SectionsVI. Neutron DecayRadioactivity Hall of Fame – Part VN. Bohr (1885-1962), G. Hertz (1887-1975) and J. Frank (1882-1964), W. Heisenberg (1901-1976), E. Schrodinger (1887-1961), M. Born (1882-1970) and P.A.H. Dirac (1902-1984), C. Davisson (1881-1958) and G.P. Thomson (1892-1975) Chapter 5. Atomic Electron RadiationI. IntroductionII. Internal Conversion ElectronsIII. Auger ElectronsRadioactivity Hall of Fame – Part VIV.F. Hess (1883-1964), C.D. Anderson (1905-1991), P.M.S. Blackett (1897-1974), Hideki Yukawa (1907-1981), C.F. Powell (1903-1969), D.A. Glaser (1926-), Pierre Victor Auger (1899-1993) Chapter 6. Cosmic RadiationI. IntroductionII. Classification and PropertiesIII. Showers of the Cosmic RadiationIV. Cosmic Rays UndergroundV. Origins of Cosmic RadiationVI. Cosmic Background RadiationVII. Dose from Cosmic Radiation and other SourcesRadioactivity Hall of Fame – Part VIIS. Ivanovich Vavilov (1891-1951), P. Alekseyevich Cherenkov (1904-1990), I. Mikhailovich Frank (1908-1990) and I. Yevgenyevich Tamm (1895-1971)Chapter 7. Cherenkov RadiationI. IntroductionII. Theory and PropertiesIII. Cherenkov Photons from Gamma-ray InteractionsIV. Particle IdentificationV. Applications in Radionuclide AnalysisRadioactivity Hall of Fame - Part VIIIE.O. Lawrence (1901-1958, J.D. Cockroft (1897-1967) and E.T.S. Walton (1903-1995), H.A. Bethe (1906-2005), W.F. Libby (1908-1980)Chapter 8. Radioisotope Decay, Radioactivity Units and Radionuclide MassI. IntroductionII. Half-lifeIII. General Decay EquationsIV. Secular EquilibriumV. Transient EquilibriumVI. No EquilibriumVII. More Complex Decay SchemesVIII. Radioactivity Units and Radionuclide Mass
Appendix A - Particle Range-Energy Correlations
Appendix B - Periodic Table of the Elements