Science: Diamond Counter

One of man's oldest baubles, the diamond, may help protect him against his newest peril. This week the U.S. Bureau of Standards announced that diamonds, size for size, are 1,000 times more sensitive to dangerous radiation than the famous Geiger counter.

The Bureau mounts its diamonds (which must be more colorless and flawless than good grade jewelry stones) between two small brass contacts. One contact is charged with 1,000 volts of electricity. When an alpha, beta or gamma ray hits the diamond, it knocks an electron off one of the carbon atoms of which the diamond is composed. Propelled by the pressure...

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