Letter | Published:

Possible Existence of a Neutron


IT has been shown by Bothe and others that beryllium when bombarded by α-particles of polonium emits a radiation of great penetrating power, which has an absorption coefficient in lead of about 0.3 (cm.)-1. Recently Mme. Curie-Joliot and M. Joliot found, when measuring the ionisation produced by this beryllium radiation in a vessel with a thin window, that the ionisation increased when matter containing hydrogen was placed in front of the window. The effect appeared to be due to the ejection of protons with velocities up to a maximum of nearly 3 × 109 cm. per sec. They suggested that the transference of energy to the proton was by a process similar to the Compton effect, and estimated that the beryllium radiation had a quantum energy of 50 x 106 electron volts.

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