The Window of Opportunity: Logic and Chance in Becquerel's Discovery of Radioactivity
The discovery of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel is frequently called serendipitous, because on March 1, 1896, he developed “unexposed” photographic plates, which he had kept near a uranium salt, and found dark images on them. I show that Becquerel's discovery was a process in which, even in its early stage in 1896, chance entered in a number of episodes, and that his discovery resulted from a complex interaction of logic and chance.
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