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RADON

Radon atom

Radon is a radio active, noble gas that is present in extremely small amounts in the atmosphere.

   

What the name means: The name radon derives from the Latin word radius, meaning “ray”.

Who identified radon? In 1899, Pierre and Marie Curie observed a gas that was given off from a solution of a radium salt. This gas was also observed coming from thorium and actinium salt solutions. The gas was known by various names – radon, thoron, actinon, to name a few.
Frederick Saddy, who had studied radon gas when working with Ernest Rutherford at McGill University in Canada, brought a few grammes of radium to Sir William Ramsay in London. In 1908, Ramsay and Robert Gray isolated the gas and identified it as a noble gas. They called the gas, the heaviest known gas, nitron. Eventually, in 1923, the name radon was universally accepted.

About radon: Radon gas is very radio active, decaying into polonium and alpha particles (helium nuclei). Like all noble gases, radon is colourless, odourless and inert. Radon gas is given off by uranium ore deposits and it can accumulate in houses built above these deposits. This occurs in specific areas of Cornwall and Devon in the UK where the bedrock is granite.

 

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