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Letters to Nature
Nature 190, 251 - 252 (15 April 1961); doi:10.1038/190251b0

Origin of the Word ‘Neutron’

STEPHEN G. BRUSH

Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, University of California, Livermore, California.

THE word ‘neutron’ has been attributed to Rutherford by Glasson1 and to W. D. Harkins2 by Glasstone3. It appears likely that it was not used by either Rutherford or Hawkins before about 1920. In both cases, the neutron was a hypothetical combination of a hydrogen nucleus (also called a ‘positive electron’ or ‘proton’) and an ordinary negative electron.

  1. Glasson, J. L. , Phil. Mag., 6, 42, 597 (1921).
  2. Harkins, W. D. , Phil. Mag., 6, 42, 305 (1921). | ChemPort |
  3. Glasstone, S. , Sourcebook on Atomic Energy, 56 (Van Nostrand, New York, 1950).
  4. Sutherland, W. , Phil. Mag., 6 3, 162 (1902).



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