Show Summary Details

p. 915. The atom factories: making new elementslocked

  • Philip Ball


‘The atom factories: making new elements’ explores the synthesis of new elements. The transmutation of new elements is only possible due to radioactivity. Rutherford discovered that bombarding nuclei with protons caused nuclear decay, and Fermi realised that neutron bombardment could create transuranic elements. Both processes released vast amounts of energy, harnessed by the United States in World War II. As well as being broken apart, nuclei can also be fused into heavier nuclei. This releases even more energy. This process occurs in the Sun, but is much harder to perform on Earth. As heavier and heavier elements have been found, arguments have raged about priority and naming rights.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.