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Unable to interpret these findings, Hahn asked Lise Meitner, a physicist and former colleague, to propose an explanation for his observations.Meitner and her nephew, Otto Frisch, showed that it was possible for the uranium nucleus to be split into two smaller nuclei by the neutrons, a process that they termed " fission ." The discovery of nuclear fission eventually led to the development of nuclear weapons and, after World War II, the advent of nuclear power to generate electricity.The third source of radioactive nuclides is termed anthropogenic and results from human activity in the production of nuclear power, nuclear weapons, or through the use of particle accelerators.Marie Curie was the founder of the field of nuclear chemistry.Diagnosis involves use of the radiopharmaceutical to generate an image of the tumor or organ to identify problems that may be missed by x rays or physical examinations. Treatment involves using radioactive compounds at carefully controlled doses to destroy tumors. Nuclear chemistry is the study of the chemical and physical properties of elements as influenced by changes in the structure of the atomic nucleus.Modern nuclear chemistry, sometimes referred to as radiochemistry, has become very interdisciplinary in its applications, ranging from the study of the formation of the elements in the universe to the design of radioactive drugs for diagnostic medicine.
In Germany in 1938, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, skeptical of claims by Enrico Fermi and Irène Joliot-Curie that bombardment of uranium by neutrons produced new so-called transuranic elements (elements beyond uranium), repeated these experiments and chemically isolated a radioactive isotope of barium.
Seaborg and coworkers went on to discover many more new elements and radioactive isotopes and to study their chemical and physical properties.
At the present, nuclear chemists are involved in trying to discover new elements beyond the 112 that are presently confirmed and to study the chemical properties of these new elements, even though they may exist for only a few thousandths of a second.
In fact, the chemical techniques pioneered by nuclear chemists have become so important that biologists, geologists, and physicists use nuclear chemistry as ordinary tools of their disciplines.
While the common perception is that nuclear chemistry involves only the study of radioactive nuclei, advances in modern mass spectrometry instrumentation has made chemical studies using stable, nonradioactive isotopes increasingly important.
There are essentially three sources of radioactive elements.