Artificially Induced Nuclear Reactions
In 1919 Rutherford performed the first artificial nuclear reaction. He was able to demonstrate that when α particles are introduced into a closed sample of N2 gasA state of matter in which a substance occupies the full volume of its container and changes shape to match the shape of the container. In a gas the distance between particles is much greater than the diameters of the particles themselves; hence the distances between particles can change as necessary so that the matter uniformly occupies its container., an occasional collision led to the formation of an isotopeOne of two or more samples of an element whose atoms differ in the number of neutrons found in the nucleus. of O and the release of a protonThe positively charged particle in an atomic nucleus; its mass is similar to the mass of a hydrogen atom.:
Since then many thousands of nuclear reactions have been studied, most of them produced by the bombardment of stable forms of matterAnything that occupies space and has mass; contrasted with energy. with a beam of nucleons or light nuclei as projectiles. Particles which have been used for this purpose include protons, neutrons, deuterons ( 21H) , α particles, and B, C, N, and O nuclei.