The Nomenclature of Radio-activity


THE name “ionium” which Dr. Boltwood proposes for the hew radio-active element, of which he announces the discovery in NATURE of October 10, is open to serious objections. I do not mean merely linguistic objections—it is too late to consider them; beside such a hybrid as “ionisation” the philological barbarity suggested by Dr. Boltwood is insignificant; but it is a first principle of scientific nomenclature that a name should connote some of the distinctive properties of the thing named. A thoroughly satisfactory system for naming radio-active elements has not been put forward, but that adopted by Prof. Rutherford in designating the members of the series descended from radium is at least better than none.

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