Radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. The particles or waves radiate (i.e., travel outward in all directions) from a source.

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Has cosmic microwave background kept a constant frequency?

Has the frequency of CMBR changed at all since the beginning of the universe? Has it always had a microwave frequency or has the frequency increased/decreased over time or is the change due to factors ...
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272 views

Why is the excited state of 116 Indium more stable than ground state?

Why is the excited state of 116 Indium more stable than ground state? Both undergo beta decay, but the ground state has a half-life of 14 seconds, while the excited state has a half-life of 54 ...
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How can there be heat in a vacuum?

I keep reading in the Physics World focus issue on vacuum technology about scientists creating high temperatures in the vacuums etc. If heat is caused by thermal energy being radiated from particles ...
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50 views

Quantum mechanics prediction for Bremsstrahlung?

Does quantum mechanics predict the Bremsstrahlung Phenomena? I know it is predicted by classical mechanics through Maxwell's equations, but does QM predict this phenomena and how so?
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2answers
92 views

Deflection Effects on a Spinning Solar Sail

Suppose I have a solar-sail-powered starship flying directly away from a star. The sail is flat and perpendicular to the direction of travel. Now, in order to make the trajectory more stable (we ...
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43 views

Black Body Radiation ELI5

If a black object and a shiny object were left in vacuum and bombarded with thermal radiation would the shiny object eventually reach the same temperature as the black object? The reason I ask is I ...
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1answer
247 views

How hot is Plutonium-238 in Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs)?

As I understand it, Plutonium-238 is used to provide power through heat generation in radioisotope thermoelectric generators. My question is... how hot is a pellet of Plutonium-238? Does the heat ...
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2answers
71 views

Alternatives to the neutrino in the beta spectrum?

It is well known that the neutrino appeared to explain the power distribution in the beta decay spectrum. (see PSE) What other explanations candidates were available? It is stated that the ...
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13 views

Clarification on isotropic sources and fields

For an isotropic radiation field the net flux is zero, something I find quoted in a lot of notes and text on radiation. We often think of isolated stars as isotropic sources, but their net flux is ...
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18 views

Is there a way to cause scintillation of air particles using an artificial source?

Is there an artificial source that can cause scintillation of air (nitrogen, oxygen, etc. )? What does it emit and what is the range?
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1answer
43 views

ionising atom(s) with gamma rays

if a gamma ray hits an electron and transfers energy, does it hit that electron (ionising the atom), transfer all its energy and stop or does it pass through multiple electrons, transferring a portion ...
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2answers
107 views

What Happens to electrons after Alpha Decay and Nuclear Fission?

Where do the electrons go? In alpha decay do 2 electrons follow the alpha particle and make stable Helium or does the larger daughter nucleus become an anion? Also what do the electrons do in the ...
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327 views

How hot would tritium water be?

I realize this is kind of a silly question, but if you have tritium water, with the tritium half life of 12.5 years, I expect it would be quite hot. (note, this is not a homework question, I'm just ...
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2answers
92 views

Can an element decay into an infinite loop?

I've been working on a problem and have been wondering is there any isotope of any element that beta decays under certain conditions but then under differing conditions the daughter nucleus electron ...
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1answer
229 views

Highest temperature possible to achieve using magnifying glass and sunlight [duplicate]

Temperature of the surface of the sun is about 5750K. Can you heat an object to more than 6000K using magnifying glass and sunlight? According to second law heat cannot be transferred from colder to ...
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89 views

If radiation didn't exist, would everything live longer? [closed]

I recently noticed that dying of old age is similar to a death by radiation - hair loss, weakened immune system etc. and I was wondering - Does background radiation limit our lifespan, or that of any ...
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1k views

Can two spaceships go fast enough to pass straight through each other?

Probability of interaction between two particles tends to wane with increasing energy. Technically, the cross section of most interactions falls off with increasing velocity. $$\sigma(v) \propto ...
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2answers
57 views

What minimum energy is required to create tracks in a cloud chamber?

What is the minimum ionizing radiation required for that? I am currently living in Fukushima prefecture and I was wondering if let`s say a flower from my yard that emits 1 pSv will create visible ...
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1answer
40 views

Temperature effects on lead against radiation

I would like to know if bringing lead to near absolute zero temperatures would have any affects on how resistive it is against gamma radiation. It takes 40 centimeters of lead to reduce gamma ...
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0answers
25 views

How to calculate material depth at which penetrating radiation direction becomes randomized?

Consider a very light particle impinging on a material composed of atoms which are effectively infinitely heavy (e.g., because they are bound together and stiff). If the scattering with nuclei is ...
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35 views

Klein-Nishina for estimating X-ray cross section

I'm looking at interaction probability for X-rays with water and DNA, and recently have starting reading up on the Klein-Nishina identities for differential cross section. When integrated over all ...
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1answer
28 views

Understanding view-/formfactor for radiation with a specific example

There is radiation coming from a point source (black body). How much of the total emitted energy (from the point source) hits a spherical surface given by $\phi = 0 - \pi $ and $\theta = 0 - \pi/2 $? ...
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1k views

Why some nuclei with “magic” numbers of neutrons have a half-life less than their neighbor isotopes?

It's easy to find the "magic" numbers of neutrons on the diagrams of alpha-decay energy: 82, 126, 152, 162. Such "magic" nuclei should be more stable than their neighbors. But why some nuclei ...
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3answers
72 views

Do molecular bounded systems shield or reduce neutron cross-sections?

When talking about neutron cross-sections, literature is usually investigating isolated cases of Neutron + Atom. Here, the abundance of hydrogen is dominating neutron fluxes through material. I ...
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3answers
70k views

Why can Hiroshima be inhabited when Chernobyl cannot?

There was an atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima, but today there are residents in Hiroshima. However, in Chernobyl, where there was a nuclear reactor meltdown, there are no residents living today (or ...
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3answers
458 views

How do particles “know” when to decay?

So, as I understand it, in a substance that is made of radioactive elements, the half-life tells us how long until the half of those atoms decay into their next atom [is there a name for that: the ...
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25 views

Polarisation states in 1d?

I am working through a derivation of the spectral energy density in a 1d cavity. The derivation says that the number of modes (per unit volume) in a frequency interval $dv$ is given by: $$g(\nu)d\nu ...
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51 views

Can someone explain the radioactive decay of that would happen over time to a 1 cubic decimeter block of plutonium? [closed]

I just saw an article talking about naturally occurring plutonium on Earth and it said that some [or many or some other purposefully ambiguous statement] people think this element could [another good ...
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1answer
33 views

Measured temperature (thermometre set to emissivity of 1) of smooth surface too high or to low?

We want to measure the temperature of a smooth flat surface with a thermometre based on absorption of thermal rays. The emissivity setting of the thermometre is set to 1 (same as a black surface), ...
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3answers
207 views

Is heat from a stovetop, transfered through convection, radiation or conduction?

It doesn't appear to be convection, as there are no moving objects (or are there); probably not radiation (?), so it is conduction? I really don't know much about heat transfer and thermodynamics, ...
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3answers
816 views

How do we know that the cesium-beam frequency used in atomic clocks is always the same?

Atomic clocks use cesium-beam frequency to determine the length of a second. This has shown that the period of orbit of the earth is decreasing. But what experiment showed that cesium-beam's period ...
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3answers
1k views

Why does positronium decay into 2 photons more often than into 3 photons?

I cannot find the answer to the above question. I know that para-positronium is created with a probability of $25\%$ and decays into 2 photons, while ortho-positronium is created with a probability ...
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2answers
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Why doesn't the evening/morning sun feel much hotter on your face?

I understand that places on the Earth's surface get hotter in summer, and in the middle of the day rather than morning or evening, because the surface of the Earth is presented 'face-on' to the Sun at ...
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2answers
203 views

By what maximum amount can we concentrate sunlight?

This refers to a previous question re: Solar Cell Systems and as part of the answer the statement: If we concentrated sunlight to [the] maximum amount 42600× was given. My questions are: By what ...
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1answer
93 views

Surfaces that reflect UV rays

I've been trying to research what surfaces reflect UV rays for the past day but it's been difficult coming up with definitive answers. So far what I've found is that surfaces that reflect visible ...
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1answer
34 views

Carbon 14 disintegration

When $\beta^-$ disintegration happens to a Carbon 14 atom, a neutron "turns into" a proton, and an electron is emitted. Therefore the result of the disintegration is a Nitrogen atom plus an electron ...
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1answer
65 views

What is the energy threshhold to produce Cherenkov radiation?

I am in a nuclear course right now and am getting some misleading information from different sources. I am trying to figure out what the minimum total energy is that a proton must have in order to ...
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2answers
62 views

How does “contamination” through (radioactive) radiation work?

Physically, what does it mean when people or objects are contaminated with radiation? Is it because they actually carrying heavy metal particles?
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1answer
684 views

Does tin foil keep heat out?

For example, if i were mailing a box of chocolates and lined the inside of the box with foil, then wrapped the chocolate in bubble wrap and placed it inside the foil lined box, would the box heat up ...
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1answer
347 views

Relationship between temperature and wavelength?

I am investigating the relationship between wavelength and temperature. As seen the figure below of Planks law What is the relationship between the lambda(max) and Temperature? or in simpler ...
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1answer
28 views

Does the W boson in beta decay affect the gravity generated by the system?

During beta decay we now know a heavy W boson gets involved temporarily. Would this potentially impact the gravitational field generated by the system as a whole? It doesn't seem like it should. Just ...
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1answer
44 views

X-ray background radiation

I'm running an experiment in gamma-ray imaging (although the main emission from the decay of Am-241 is ~60keV, so much more in the range of x-rays). I'm curious as to the sort of sources that would ...
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beta minus decay: expression for maximum electron energy

I'm having some trouble finding an expression for the maximum electron energy in beta minus decay. In the frame where the neutron is initially at rest, conservation of momentum reads: ...
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1answer
43 views

Background gamma radiation

There are plenty of lists of sources of general background radiation, but can anyone reduce that list to the major contributing sources purely for background gamma radiation (specifically low energy, ...
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1answer
41 views

What process happens in an IT nuclear decay?

I've been researching medical isotopes and alot of them decay by an IT path. Does anyone know what IT stands for? And what physical process is happening? Example: ...
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1k views

What is the required thickness of concrete needed to entomb a leaking reactors emissions?

What is the minimum thickness of an aggregate concrete membrane to prevent radioactive particles from escaping a broken reactor? I am interested in calculating the amount of concrete required to ...
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2answers
132 views

Why the CMB has not been dispersed so far?

Imagine you have a box of black body radiation. What happens if you open the box for a long time? It becomes dispersed and no radiation remains in the box. Now, apply this example to the Cosmic ...
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2answers
552 views

Why do microwave ovens use radiation with such long wavelength?

According to Wikipedia: Consumer ovens usually use 2.45 gigahertz (GHz)—a wavelength of 12.2 centimetres (4.80 in). Typically, I put the dish inside the oven in its center. I suspect most ...
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2answers
126 views

Lethal dose of Gy's (Grays)

The unit Gray has the dimensions $\text{J/kg}$. I've read, that a dose of about 3-5 Gy's could kill a person within a few weeks - or at least that's usually the case. But I'm not really understanding ...
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How do experimental physicists know the decay path of transuranium elements ahead of time?

I have been watching (and enjoying) Dr. Poliakoff's YouTube videos on the synthesis of transuranium elements like Roentgenium and Copernicium, which decay so quickly that they are identified (if I ...