Spinthariscope

Spinthariscope

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Description
A spinthariscope consists of a fluorescent screen, a magnifying eyepiece, and a speck of radium. Looking through the eyepiece, one sees scintillations caused by alpha particles from the radium hitting the screen. William Crookes, a prominent English chemist, designed the form in 1903, coined the term (deriving it from the Greek word for scintillation), and arranged for its manufacture. The Smithsonian bought one spinthariscope in 1903, and received another from Crookes in 1913. This is one of those instruments. The inscription reads “SPINTHARISCOPE / W. CROOKES / 1903 / R. & J. BECK LTD LONDON.”
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
Spinthariscope
date made
early 20th century
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
Measurements
overall: 1 1/2 in x 1 3/16 in; 3.81 cm x 3.01625 cm
ID Number
PH.316649
catalog number
316649
accession number
226637
subject
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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