Nature and Structure of the Atom
In the field of science the structure of the atom has been evolving continuously ever since it was discovered to be the component of all matter in nature. In 600 B.C the concept was that it was the smallest particle of matter that could not be divided further. At the turn of the twentieth century scientists came up with experiments and theories that would revolutionize the subject of atomic structure. In 1900, Thompson proved that the atom had electrons hence setting up the foundation of coming up with the periodic table and discovery of other elements (Barrett, 2002). A decade later, the notion of an atom changed into a planetary model that was spear headed by Rutherford. Rutherford’s concepts laid the foundation of radioactivity. However, his notion was disproved by Niels Bohr who proposed that the atom had energy levels containing electrons. His theory was the basis for dual nature of the atom—wavelike and particle like (Barrett, 2002).
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster
It was a nuclear accident that happened in 1986 at Chernobyl, Ukraine. The accident was caused by a power surge that resulted in approximately 5% of nuclear materials being released to the environment (Ingram, 2005). At that time in 1986, developed nations were focusing on using nuclear energy as an alternative source of electricity. It was a time when there was constant experimentation of the technology and many did not know the effects of it in case anything went wrong. Scientists of Chernobyl had prior increased energy production and so when they decided to increase it again in 1986, a surge occurred resulting to the accident. The impact of the accident was vast with effects being felt as far as Russia, Belarus and greater Ukraine. There were approximately fifty instant deaths and over two hundred deaths over time. Over 4000 cancer cases were also felt spanning in the years between 1987 and 2004 (Ingram, 2005). The impact of the disaster in science was that it proved radioactivity could cause adverse effects in living things even after long periods of time. It also proved that radiation took pathways that ultimately resulted in some radionuclide that ended up in DNA and tissues. When they degraded spontaneously they resulted to damage and even death.
Barrett, J. (2002). Atomic Structure and Periodicity. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry. Pp. 1-17
Ingram, S. (2005). The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. New York: Facts on File. Pp. 60-79