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Spinthariscope

Spinthariscope

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Description
A spinthariscope consists of a fluorescent screen, a magnifying eyepiece, and a speck of radium. By 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 inscription on this example reads “UNITED STATES RADIUM CORPS. / NEW YORK.”
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
Spinthariscope
Date made
1920s?
Physical Description
metal; glass; leather; radioactive source (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 4.2 cm x 4.8 cm; 1 5/8 in x 1 7/8 in
ID Number
1994.0125.18
accession number
1994.0125
catalog number
1994.0125.18
Credit Line
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Department of Chemistry
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Modern Physics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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