Science with radioactive beams: the alchemist's dream
Nuclear science is being transformed by a new capacity to create beams of radioactive nuclei. Until now all of our knowledge of nuclear physics and the applications which flow from it has been derived from studies of radioactive decay and nuclear reactions induced by beams of the 283 stable or long-lived nuclear species we can find on Earth. Here we describe first how beams of radioactive nuclei can be created. The present status of nuclear physics is then reviewed before potential applications to nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, materials science, bio-medical, and environmental studies are described.