The discussion between P. Curie and E. Rutherford (1900–1904)
Institut de Physique nucléaire, IN2P3/CNRS et Université
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Received in final form: 21 January 2013
Published online: 8 March 2013
A serious discussion took place between P. Curie in Paris and E. Rutherford in Montreal from 1900 until 1904 through the medium of scientific publications. P. and M. Curie had observed that radium produces “induced radioactivity”, whereas, at the same time, Rutherford had observed that thorium emits a kind of “emanation”. P. Curie, performing different experiments with his collaborators, believed that radioactive atoms draw from the environment the energy that they will release. Rutherford, together with F. Soddy, in a series of delicate experiments, discovered that radioactivity is the spontaneous transformation of one radio-element into another. Finally, in March 1904, P. Curie “adopted the point of view of Mr Rutherford”.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag 2013