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The History of Accelerators

Inside the Nucleus


John D. Cockcroft and Ernest T. Walton built the first accelerator in the 1930s to explore the nucleus. A high voltage was needed to reach the high acceleration and high energy needed for a charged particle to penetrate into the nucleus. Cockcroft and Walton managed to construct an electric system that could deliver a voltage of 800 kV, which was used in the first proton accelerator. In 1932 they realised the first nuclear transformation initiated by a proton.

p + Li -> He + He

Cockcroft and Walton received the Nobel Prize in 1951 "for their pioneer work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles."


Related Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1951 - Sir John Douglas Cockcroft  » The Nobel Prize in Physics 1951 - Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton  »  

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