100th Anniversary of Isotopes

The Cloud Chamber at Questacon

Wednesday 4 December marked the 100th anniversary of isotopes, first introduced to the world by Frederick Soddy in a letter to the journal Nature on 4 December 1913. Soddy received the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering that an atom can have a different number of neutrons but still be the same chemical element; these different atoms are known as isotopes of that element. As each isotope has different nuclear properties, some can be stable and others are radioactive. Isotopes are used widely in medicine, nuclear power, environmental research and radiometric dating.

At Questacon you can see the effects of background radiation resulting from the radioactive decay of naturally occurring isotopes by watching our Cloud Chamber exhibit, or you can celebrate radioactivity with a tribute to the pioneering work of fellow Nobel Prize recipient Marie Curie, one of our Icons of Inspiration sculptures located on the steps of the Rear Science Court.