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Chadwick's neutron detector, c 1932.

Chadwick's neutron detector, c 1932.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm


This detector was used by James Chadwick (1891-1974) in his discovery of the neutron. Inside the detector, particles from a radioactive source hit a beryllium target. From the resulting nuclear reactions neutrons were given off, detected when they dislodged protons from a piece of paraffin wax (see 1980-1048). Chadwick's discovery helped to rewrite existing beliefs concerning what was contained in the nucleus of an atom.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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