Friday, July 2, 2010
Canadian physicist...Harriet Brooks
Canadian nuclear physicist who was probably the first to observe the recoil of the atomic nucleus as nuclear particles were emitted during radioactive decay. During the years 1901-05, she contributed much to the new science of radioactivity. Working with Rutherford, she measured the rate at which radium released radon (and other gases) into the air. They demonstrated that the diffusion of the emanations of radium both behaved like a a gas, and that this gas had a high (over 100) molecular weight. Rutherford credited her work identifying the release of radon as crucial to developing his theory of the transmutation of one element into another. She died at the age of 56, from leukemia or a like disease related to radiation exposure.
University of California