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• This conclusion was reached simultaneously in 1913 by Kasimir Fajans (1887-1975) and
Soddy (1877-1956). Fajans called the chemically identical atoms with differing isotopic
masses pleiads, but Soddy called them Isotopes, the name we currently use. Here it is in
Soddy's words, where he argues against Fayan's idea that isotopes are distinguished by
electronic changes (eg. 90U4+ would be identical to 90Th2+). At the time, neutrons were
unknown, and atoms were thought to be pairs of positive and negatively charged
particles.The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1921 was awarded to Frederick Soddy "for his
contributions to our knowledge of the chemistry of radioactive substances, and his
investigations into the origin and nature of isotopes.
• The existence of isotopes was first suggested in 1913 by the radiochemist Frederick
Soddy, based on studies of radioactive decay chains that indicated about 40 different
species referred to as radioelements (i.e. radioactive elements) between uranium and
lead, although the periodic table only allowed for 11 elements from uranium to lead.

• When we think of isotopes, we usually think of radioactive decay, which was first
associated with transmutation of elements by Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy in
1902[1]. Radioactivity led to the radical modification of Dalton's Atomic Theory, because
it became clear that atoms were not immutable, that they were not indivisible, and that
elements consisted of more than one kind of atom.
The products of transmutations were sometimes themselves radioactive, but
eventually they decay to stable atoms. Three decay series for "primordial
nuclides" (those preexisting on Earth) were elucidated by Rutherford and
Soddy: The series starting with 23892U terminated with stable "radium
G" after about 20 decays; 23290Th decay terminated with "thorium D";
and 23892U decay terminated with "actinium D".

• The term isotope was first used by Scottish doctor

Margaret Todd in a conversation with her cousin,
renowned chemist F.Soddy, in 1913. F. Soddy is believed
to have taken the first steps in isolating the isotope by
degenerating uranium. H.N. McCoy and W.H. Ross later
conclusively showed the method of isolating the
radioactive isotope of uranium. J.J. Thompson and his
associate, F.W. Aston, conducted many experiments to
show that many substances, when ionized, had species
that were much heavier than the main content. In 1931,
Harold Urey and G.M. Murphy discovered the effect of
isotopes on the mass of an atom.

Fredirick Sobby was an English radiochemist who

explained, with Ernest Rutherford, that radioactivity is
due to the transmutation of elements, now known to
involve nuclear reactions. He also proved the existence
of isotopes of certain radioactive elements.

• In 1911, although he could not prove that it was

positive or negative, he theorized that atoms have
their charge concentrated in a very small nucleus,
and thereby pioneered the Rutherford model of the
atom, through his discovery and interpretation of
Rutherford scattering by the gold foil experiment
of Hans Geiger.

J. J. Thomson took science to new

heights with his 1897 discovery of the
electron – the first subatomic particle.

He also found the first evidence that

stable elements can exist as isotopes
and invented one of the most powerful
tools in analytical chemistry – the mass.
• Isotope-(easiest definition) One member of a family of chemical elements
that has the same chemical properties (the same atomic number) but
differs in mass. Isotopes have the same number of protons and electrons,
but a different number of neutrons.

• Some examples of stable isotopes are isotopes of carbon, potassium,

calcium and vanadium. Radioactive isotopes have an unstable
combination of protons and neutrons, so they have unstable nuclei.
Because these isotopes are unstable, they undergo decay, and in the
process can emit alpha, beta and gamma rays

• 1. Carbon-14
• A naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon having six protons and eight
neutrons in the nucleus. The isotope Carbon-14 is essential in the research of
archaeological and biological remains by radiocarbon dating. C-14 does not last
forever. There is a time when it loses its extra neutrons and becomes C-12. The loss
of those neutrons is called radioactive decay. That decay happens regularly like a
clock. For carbon, the decay happens in a few thousand years. Some elements take
longer, and others have a decay that happens over a period of minutes.
Archeologists are able to use their knowledge of radioactive decay when they need
to know the date of an object they dug up in a process called carbon dating.
• 2. Iodine-131
• It is an isotope because it contains a different number of neutrons from the element iodine.
Normal iodine has a mass number of 127, so iodine-131 has 4 more neutrons. It has been
found useful in radiation treatments for thyroid cancer treatment. Your thyroid gland absorbs
nearly all of the iodine in your body. When radioactive iodine is taken into the body in liquid
or capsule form, it concentrates in thyroid cells. The radiation can destroy the thyroid gland
and any other thyroid cells, including cancer cells that take up iodine, with little effect on the
rest of your body. Radioactive iodine therapy improves the survival rate of patients with
thyroid cancer.
• 3. Tritium
• An isotope of hydrogen and is used to make things such as clock faces and wristwatches glow
in the dark. Tritium provides an extremely bright self-activated, self-sustaining light source
that will stay bright throughout the night and has a life span of twenty years.
• A radioactive isotope, also known as a radioisotope,
radionuclide, or radioactive nuclide, is any of several species
of the same chemical element with different masses whose
nuclei are unstable and dissipate excess energy by
spontaneously emitting radiation in the form of alpha, beta,
and gamma rays. Every chemical element has one or more
radioactive isotopes. For example, hydrogen, the lightest
element, has three isotopes, which have mass numbers 1, 2,
and 3. Only hydrogen-3 (tritium), however, is a radioactive
isotope; the other two are stable. More than 1,800
radioactive isotopes of the various elements are known.
Some of these are found in nature; the rest are produced
artificially as the direct products of nuclear reactions or
indirectly as the radioactive descendants of these products.
Each “parent” radioactive isotope eventually decays into one
or at most a few stable isotope “daughters” specific to that

• Isotopes could either be stable or unstable and it all depends upon

the spontaneous decay of these materials. Unstable isotopes decay
spontaneously into other elements. Stable isotopes are not
radioactive and they do not decay spontaneously or change into
other elements. The stable isotopes are subject various biogenic and
diagenetic processes.

• Unstable isotopes or the radioactive nuclides have certain decay

probability and the degree of instability is created by either too
many neutrons or too less neutrons. Till date about 1700
approximately radionuclides have been identified while the list of
stable nuclides is only about 270.
Radioactive isotopes are both helpful and harmful at the same time. All 118 elements have
radioactive isotopes with half lives from a nano-second to centuries. Many of these exist
naturally although usually in much smaller quantities than the main elemental form. Many of the
isotopes can be artificially produced by subjecting the original nucleus to bombardment with
alpha, beta, gamma or neutron beams. Indeed, all elements above Uranium, atomic number 92,
are produced by bombardment principally with a neutron stream, and are called the trans-
uranium elements and do not exist naturally. The isotopes display the same elemental
characteristics in all the nuclides. Tin, elemental symbol S, has 10 isotopes and are all essentially
chemically the same.

The advantages of radioisotopes is they can be used to trace their transport by a proper detection
scheme. They also can be used to destroy harmful growth in the human body, e.g., the use of
radioactive Iodine to kill overactive thyroids.The disadvantages are that some isotopes can stay
in the human body for a long time an cause harmful effects by their radiation.