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Handbook of Energy by Christopher G. Morris, Cutler J. Cleveland

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Section 11

Nuclear

The principles of nuclear energy have wide-ranging applications in industry, medicine, electricity generation, and the military. The fundamental importance of nuclear energy is illustrated by the large number of scientists from a wide range of fields who were awarded the Novel Prize for unraveling some aspect of the mystery surrounding the nature and behavior of the atom.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a rapid series of discoveries launched the nuclear era. Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity when his experiments indicated that uranium emits radiation without an external source (1896), and Ernest Rutherford coined the terms ‘alpha ray’ and ‘beta ray’ to describe the two distinct types of radiation ...

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