Radon is a colorless gas with the chemical symbol of Rn and an atomic number of 86. It is radioactive and it is a health hazard due to its radioactivity. Radon is a naturally occurring decay product of uranium and is the most stable isotope with a half life of 3.8 days. Radon is the most common cause of public exposure to radiation as it can accumulate from natural sources in buildings, particularly in attics and basements. So if radon is so radioactive, who discovered its existence?
Who Discovered Radon?
The discovery of radon like the discovery of most things cannot really be attributed to one person. Many famous scientists wrote about its existence, the first two being Pierre and Marie Curie, the scientists who discovered radiation. They noted a gas that was given off by radium in 1899. Later that same year some other scientist from the McGill University in Montreal made mention of a gas that retained the radioactive powers for several minutes. In 1900 a German physicist named Friedrich Ernst Dorn discovered the radioactive gas that is emitted from radium when studying its decaying chains and named it Radium Emanation.
Friedrich Ernst Dorn is credited with the discovery of Radon. Radon went through a few name changes before it was finally recognized as radon in 1923. Another scientist who should be fairly mentioned in the discovery of radon is Ernest Rutherford who first discovered the radioactive gas emanating from another radioactive element Thorium. It was this research that prompted Friedrich Ernst Dorn to complete further research on the topic.