WHEN an α-particle passes through matter it may be considered that the matter in the proximity of the path of the swiftly moving particle is momentarily raised to a high temperature. Looked at in this light the action of an α-particle may be likened to that of a detonator and it may be possible to detonate a sufficiently unstable substance by the action of these particles. This has been found to be the case with the familiar explosive compound, nitrogen iodide.
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Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society (1950)