Besides the fact that I may be writing this scientific article for SEO – one of the few – I am also writing it because I will personally like to have an article on this blog that explicitly and separately defines radioactivity in addition to what I have said about it in my other articles.
So, this article is going to be quite short and straight to the point as possible, but before we go to the true description of radioactivity, I will like us to briefly discuss the scientific history of this phenomenon.
Radioactivity was discovered in 1896 by a French scientist called Henri Becquerel while doing some research with phosphorescent materials. Phosphorescent materials are materials that glow in the dark after being exposed to light.
According to history, Henri Becquerel wrapped a photographic plate with black paper and then placed these phosphorescent salts in it but after some time the result was negative.
This was the case until he used uranium salts and after some time there was a blackening on the photographic plate and this was despite the fact that the photographic plate was wrapped in black paper.
This result indicated that whatever rays were emanating from the uranium salts, these rays were penetrating. It became clear that these rays had nothing to do with phosphorescent as it was been manifested by non-phosphorescent salts or materials like uranium.
Further research was done about these penetrating rays and the scientists laying the groundwork for this pioneering research found out that they were dealing with a new kind of ray which was very different from x-rays and which scientists had wrongly thought that it could be related to.
And concerning our understanding of radioactivity, we owe so much to the pioneering work of Henri Becquerel, Ernest Rutherford, and especially Pierre Curie and Marie Curie.
Pierre Curie and his wife Marie Curie
The Curie’s were a couple that gave themselves fully to scientific research. The Curie’s were able to isolate two more radioactive elements from uranium ore which are radium and polonium. And today, man has been able to isolate other less harmful radioactive elements like cobalt and caesium.
We owe the Curie’s so much for the modern understanding of radioactivity and for the practical application of radioactivity in the medical field especially for treating cancer and skin ulcers.
Without their noble efforts, we would not have radiation therapy today. Also, Marie Curie was awarded a Nobel prize in physics in 1903 and a Nobel prize in chemistry in 1911 and both were for her contributions to our understanding of radioactivity.
In 1906 Pierre Curie died when he was run over by a horse-drawn carriage. Marie Curie died in 1934 of aplastic anaemia, a form of bone marrow damage probably caused by all the radiation she endured.
Now, after all the research on radioactivity, something becomes evident when we look at how it was/is defined. In modern physics, radioactivity is defined thus:
- Radioactivity is defined as the spontaneous disintegration of atoms.
Something is clear from the above, which is that after all the research on radioactivity, we still don’t know what radioactivity is. The modern definition of radioactivity as “spontaneous disintegration” is obviously vague.
The modern definition of radioactivity does not in any way tell us why these nucleis decay or disintegrate! This is why no matter how easy we may find the practical application of radioactivity, it is still very disturbing that we don’t know why these atoms decay.The modern definition of radioactivity does not in any way tell us why these nucleis decay or disintegrate!Click To Tweet
And this is where we find the absolute importance of post-modern physics. Post-modern physics gives us the simple definition of radioactivity that absolves it of its vagueness and also reveals to us why this phenomenon occurs in the universe.
So, what is the post-modern definition of radioactivity? According to post-modern physics, radioactivity is defined thus:
- Radioactivity is defined as the process of interconversion of rest mass and inertial mass.
The above is the absolute underlying definition of radioactivity and it explains why it occurs in the universe. It is now known in post-modern physics that radioactivity occurs because rest mass and inertial mass are interconvertible.It is now known in post-modern physics that radioactivity occurs because rest mass and inertial mass are interconvertible.Click To Tweet
This principle of the interconversion of rest mass and inertial mass was not known in the modern era of physics and it was why the phenomenon of radioactivity must have puzzled the early discoverers.
They could not really explain the mechanism of radioactivity. They could explain similar phenomena like x-rays, cathode rays, but they could not explain radioactivity: it was just a spontaneous disintegration of atoms to them and since then.
But now in post-modern physics, radioactivity has become a “process” and not an unexplainable phenomenon or an absurd anomaly as one would suppose or think following modern physics.
Radioactivity begins at the particle level where a neutron which is a sub-atomic particle with only inertial mass decay into a proton and an electron which are particles that have rest mass.
This simple at the bottom level radioactive process for the disintegration of particles is what leads or initiates the at the top level disintegration of atoms as have been observed countless times in our labs.
What initially causes radioactivity is the instability of inertial mass which is the kind of mass neutrons possess and when they are converted into rest masses, electrons and protons, it becomes that these rest masses, electrons and protons, can be converted back into neutrons as have been observed during the events of electron and proton capture.
The above is due to the interconversion of inertial mass and rest mass. We also have the active participation of the principle of universal equivalence in all of this, but explaining it here will not be possible as it is beyond the scope of this great scientific article.
However, the new post-modern definition of radioactivity reveals the exact process of radioactivity and the underlying principles that govern it.
We now understand the process of radioactivity just as we understand the process of x-rays and cathode rays. This means that we can now boldly approach or employ the practical use of radioactivity with the true understanding of the process.
The way we were ignorant of the nature of radioactivity is how have been ignorant about the nature of most of the phenomena in the universe. This is why post-modern physics is pertinent and corrective as it properly diminishes our ignorance and presents to us the true way of understanding these phenomena.
This new post-modern understanding of radioactivity will have a revolutionary effect on how we have practically applied this phenomenon so far. It will sharpen and smoothen the practical application of this process.
So, today and in this scientific article, I have presented the illuminating definition of radioactivity, and according to this definition: radioactivity is the process of interconversion of rest mass and inertial mass.
Until next time,
I will be here.
– M. V. Echa