One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An instrument that shows the incidence of alpha particles by flashes on a fluorescent screen.
- ‘Leo and his friends also took the spinthariscope to an out-of-town astronomers convention and advertised that they had developed an optical system that could penetrate clouds.’
- ‘In 1903 he invented the spinthariscope to detect alpha particles emitted by radioactive elements.’
- ‘So I happen to have several spinthariscopes of various vintages, of which this item is a poor imitation.’
- ‘After researching uranium for several years he invented an instrument designed to detect alpha-rays called a spinthariscope, which means ‘spark-viewer.’’
- ‘Bill handed out two spinthariscopes, which we passed around in the dark room to see the scintillations for ourselves.’
Early 20th century: formed irregularly from Greek spintharis ‘spark’ + -scope.
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