What is radioactivity?

Radioactivity is no invention of man... it is a natural phenomenon !

It was discovered by accident in 1898 by the French physicist Henri Becquerel while he studied a mineral containing uranium.

He had stored a photographical plate next to some uranium salts, and it was printed off without being exposed to light. Henri Becquerel thus concluded that uranium emits invisible rays, resembling to X-rays, that were discovered the year before by the German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen.

Radioactivity is the manifestation of the instability of an atom. For an atom to become stable, it must get rid of part of its mass, that is expelled in the form of energy particles and radiation. The instability of the atom is due to a surplus of protons (elementary particles of an electropositive nucleus) and/or neutrons (elementary particles of a neutral nucleus).

Radioactivity thus is a phenomenon by which excess energy is liberated when an unstable atom searches its equilibrium and transforms itself by liberating one or more particles. This process is known as disintegration of the atom. Each disintegration involves an energy release in the form of ionising radiation.

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