Saturday, 10 October 2009

Theories Of Radio-Active Phenomenon

Their Application Especially to Medicine -
Professor of Chemistry and Diredlor of the Laboratory, College
of the City of New York, formerly of the University
of North Carolina.
Published by
Williams, Brown & Earle

Richartz has shown that ozone belongs to the group of
radio-active substances and on being dissociated will become
a conductor of electricity. In short, it would be converted
into oxygen while giving off gaseous ions. On the other hand,
its formation takes place whenever in certain electric phenom-
ena gaseous ions are present and a reversible process analo-
gous to the dissociation phenomenon occurs. If gaseous ions
be considered as material particles, the ozone may be regarded
as a chemical compound of electrons and oxygen, or an "elec-
tronide" of oxygen. Both electrons of atomical ions would be
controlled by the mass law in the same way as electrolytic ions
and electrical and neutral molecules. The hypothesis is sug-
gested that radium and analogous substances might also be
"electronides." The process might be analogous to the dis-
sociation of calcium carbonate into calcium oxide and carbon
dioxide. Probably radio-active substances should be produced
by volcanic phenomena, as they are attended by violent evolu-
tion of electricity. In many slow reactions giving rise to the
formation of ozone, the presence of gaseous ions has lately
been ascertained. It is probable that many, if not all, reac-
tions are attended with the presence of such gaseous ions in
variable quantities. On the other hand, hydrogen dioxide is
analogous to ozone, giving off so-called emanations which
do not influence photographic plates through a sheet of alumi-
num. It should equally be considered as an electronide. In
order to produce a luminous sensation on the eye, the concen-
tration of ions should apparently exceed a certain limit.
Schenck enunciates the hypothesis that emanations of radio-
active substances are nothing else than ozone. An attempt was
made to account for excited radio-activity by the action of

Winkler 1 took a rather radical position, insisting that all
of the reported radio-active elements simply contain a varia-
ble amount of radium, and furthermore he intimated that
radium itself is not an element but that it may be impure stron-
tium with an excessive electrical charg

J. A. Alexander 1 insists that radio-activity is due to exter-
nal energy. He says :

"All matter, as we know, is continually receiving and
giving out energy but the total sum of the plus and the minus
in the universe equals zero.

Radio-activity and magnetism are in some respects anal-
ogous. Each is exhibited most strongly by one element, and
to a lesser degree by several closely allied elements. Each can
be communicated to some other bodies without apparent loss
to the original active substance. Both are impaired by heat,
fusion or solution, which seem to alter the conditions of the
molecular complexes. We believe magnetism to be consequent
upon the localization of ever-existent cosmic forces ; and it
seems to be probable that radio-activity can be traced to the
same origin."

The effect upon the eyes produced by radium is a diffuse
brightness, somewhat like that one experiences when he steps
from a dark to a brilliantly lighted room, with the eyes slightly
closed, that is, the interior of the eye begins to fluoresce. The
cornea, the lens, especially the vitreous humor, and perhaps
the retina are involved. This is quite different from the
effect of Rontgen rays, which act upon the retina alone. A
pure radium salt acts with such intensity that the effect may
be obtained by placing the chemical back of the head, and
without the intervention of the optical apparatus at all. The
Becquerel rays may produce an apparition, but it is not pos-
sible to secure a picture as they are deficient in a characteristic
property of visible light, namely, refraction.*

From what we have learned there appears to be little in
the suggestion that radio-activity may supplant chemicals used
for the preservation of food.

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