Return to 7 Radioactivity and Particles – Part A “Units”

7 Radioactivity and Particles – Part B “Radioactivity”

Syllabus Aims…

7.2 describe the structure of an atom in terms of protons, neutrons and electrons and use symbols such as C14  to describe particular nuclei

7.3 know the terms atomic (proton) number, mass (nucleon) number and isotope

7.4 know that alpha (a) particles, beta ( b-) particles and gamma (g) rays are ionising radiations emitted from unstable nuclei in a random process

7.5 describe the nature of alpha (a) particles, beta ( b-) particles and gamma (g) rays and recall that they may be distinguished in terms of penetrating power and ability to ionise

7.6 practical: investigate the penetration powers of different types of radiation using either radioactive sources or simulations.

7.7 describe the effects on the atomic and mass numbers of a nucleus of the emission of each of the four main types of radiation (alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation)

7.8 understand how to complete balanced nuclear equations in terms of mass and charge
know that photographic film or a Geiger–Müller detector can detect ionising radiations
explain the sources of background (ionising) radiation from Earth and space.

7.11 know that the activity of a radioactive source decreases over a period of time and is measured in becquerels

7.12 know the term ‘half-life’ and understand that it is different for different radioactive isotopes

7.13 use the concept of the half-life to carry out simple calculations on activity, including graphical methods.

7.14 describe the uses of radioactivity in industry and medicine

7.15 describe the difference between contamination and irradiation
describe the dangers of ionising radiations including

  • that radiation can cause mutations in living organisms
  • that radiation can damage cells and tissue
  • the problems arising in the disposal of radioactive waste and how the associated risks can be reduced.


Use this PowerPoint for a quick review…

7B Radioactivity and Particles Lessons 6 to 9

7B Radioactivity and Particles Lessons 1 to 5

Marie & Pierre Curie, Henri Becquerel. The Discovery of Radioactivity and Radioactive Elements.

Antoine Henri Becquerel (15 December 1852 – 25 August 1908) was a French physicist, Nobel laureate, and the discoverer of radioactivity, for work in this field he, along with Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie, received the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. The SI unit for radioactivity, the becquerel (Bq), is named after him.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person (and only woman) to win twice, the only person to win twice in multiple sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

Pierre Curie (15 May 1859 – 19 April 1906) was a French physicist, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity. In 1903 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics with his wife, Marie Skłodowska-Curie, and Henri Becquerel, "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel".

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