The first thing to do is to proceed to determine the etymological origin of the word neutron that we are dealing with now. In this way, we would have to clarify that it emanates from Latin and more specifically from the word neuer, which is made up of two different parts: the prefix ne-, which is equivalent to a negation, and uter, which can be translated as “one or the other.”

A neutron is a massive particle with no electrical charge. It’s about a baryon (a subatomic particle made up of three quarks) made up of two down quarks and one up quark. Neutrons and protons constitute the cores of the atoms.

NeutronThe neutron has a half-life of about fifteen minutes outside the atomic nucleus, when it emits a electron and a antineutron to become a proton. Neutrons, which have a mass similar to protons, are necessary for the stability of atomic nuclei (with the exception of hydrogen).

The New Zealander Physicist and Chemist Ernest Rutherford he was the one who proclaimed, in 1920, the existence of the neutron. In this way he explained why nuclei do not disintegrate due to the electromagnetic repulsion of protons.

Neutrons act on nuclear reactions, which are produced when a neutron drives the fission of an atom and a greater number of neutrons are generated which, in turn, causes new fissions. Depending on how this reaction occurs, it can be called a controlled reaction (the moderator of a nuclear reactor is used to take advantage of nuclear energy) or an uncontrolled reaction (a critical mass of nuclear fuel is produced).

In addition to all the above, we would have to make clear the existence of another series of terms that are also based on the use of the word that we are dealing with now. This would be the case of a slow neutron, which is one that has the particularity that it has a speed that has the same order as the one it has, at normal temperature, which is molecular agitation.

In the same way, the fast neutron should not be forgotten either. As its name indicates, it is the one that counts as a hallmark the fact that its speed is comparable to that of light.

To all this we should also add the term neutron bomb. This, also known as an augmented direct radiation bomb, is a nuclear weapon that originated in the United States. It was created in the decade of the 70s by the hand of physicist Samuel Cohen and is fundamentally based on what is nuclear fission.

After a halt in their progress, it was President Ronald Reagan who backed the projects for this highly dangerous nuclear bomb.

The Nuclear fisionTherefore, it is a reaction that occurs in the nucleus of the atom. Fission takes place when the heavy nucleus splits into smaller nuclei, in addition to other by-products such as free neutrons and photons. Fission of heavy nuclei, therefore, is an exothermic process in which large amounts of energy are released.