He separated the radiations according to their penetrating abilities and named them rays are emitted with a specific energy that depends on the radioactive isotope.

Beta particles, however, are emitted with a continuous range of energies from zero up to the maximum allowed for by the particular isotope.

For complex nuclei there are many different possible ways in which the neutrons and protons can be arranged within the nucleus.

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Nuclear half-lives range from tiny fractions of a second to many, many times the age of the universe.

For more information on half-life and isotopes, please refer to the Isotopes Project at LBNL where you can also find the Table of Isotopes online.

decay will have a mass and charge different from those of the original nucleus.

A change in nuclear charge means that the element has been changed into a different element.

This fogging suggested that some kind of ray had passed through the plate coverings.

Several materials other than uranium were also found to emit these penetrating rays.

Materials that emit this kind of radiation are said to be radioactive and to undergo radioactive decay.

In 1899, Ernest Rutherford discovered that uranium compounds produce three different kinds of radiation.

Only through such radioactive decays or nuclear reactions can transmutation, the age-old dream of the alchemists, actually occur.