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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Can you speed up radioactive decay of plutonium?

We all know the issue of deep geological repositories for fuel rods. Is there a currently feasible way to speed up the rod's decay to render them harmless in less than 10 years?
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What other shielding material than lead is effective against gamma rays?

As the question in the title states I am wondering what material can be effectively used to shield gamma rays apart from lead? I believe concrete is often used, but it is nowhere near as effective as ...
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Is there a way to decrease the rate of nuclear Beta decay?

In that question and its answers it was mentioned that you could trigger radioactive decay by bombarding atoms with gamma rays of the right energy level (there may be other solutions I do not know ...
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The role of W bosons in the weak nuclear force and beta decay

I am a beginner Physics student and I am studying the weak nuclear force and how particle interactions work. Now, from my book and the Feynman diagram, I learned that a neutron can change into a ...
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Why doesn't diamond glow when hot?

In an answer to this SE question, the respondent explains that heating a perfect diamond will not cause it to glow with thermal blackbody radiation. I don't quite follow his explanation. I think it ...
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How is the Earth heated by a Full Moon?

While the moon is certainly not a good reflector of solar radiation, surely the radiation it reflects back heats the Earth (even if it is a terribly small amount). How would one go about calculating (...
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176 views

Why do $\beta$ particles not get attracted to the nucleus?

I currently have a very limited knowledge of how radiation works etc, but while sat in class the other day, one question occurred to me that even my teacher could not answer. We have been learning ...
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654 views

Interpretation of Wigner function in optics

I work in the field of synchrotron radiation sources where radiation (often x-rays) is produced from an electron beam going through magnetic fields. The quality of the resulting x-ray beam is ...
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379 views

Earth's magnetic field shields us… from what threat?

This is a nice artistic picture of the magnet field of the earth, shielding us from the solar wind. (source) Wherever you look, it is stated that without our shield, life would not be possible on ...
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What common materials can effectively block infrared radiation?

I have a plastic container and want to make sure that infrared radiation (specifically, in the 750-850 nanometer range) cannot pass through it. Would wrapping it in aluminum foil do the trick? If not, ...
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110 views

How did Lyman discover his series?

How did Lyman discover his series in hydrogen atom? How did he know that the final energy level is the first level and not the second or the third or etc.? Or how did the other scientists know which ...
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475 views

Do photons make the universe expand?

I have a problem understanding the ideas behind a basic assumption of cosmology. The Friedmann equations follow from Newtonian mechanics and conservation of Energy-momentum $(E_{kin}+E_{pot}=E_{tot})$ ...
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Why don't we use beta radiation for making electricity?

Why don't we use beta radiation to make our electricity? Since it is an electron being released/made, it would make sense to try and capture it. But, we obviously don't so. What am I missing in my ...
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389 views

why can't you use your cellphone on an airplane? [closed]

why airplanes are banned with use of cellphones? What were the impacts while we answer an call or make an call ,what was the physical reason behind the ban of using cellphone inside airplanes ? I ...
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Cosmic ray hazards

The Pierre Auger Observatory site mentions the detection of a 3E20 eV (48 J) cosmic ray whose energy, well above the GZK cutoff, was based on an analysis of its atmospheric shower. This was equivalent ...
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Why is an opaque body opaque?

When does a body qualify to be called an opaque body? Is it anybody which cannot let visible light through it or is there any other definition? And when and how does a body allow radiations through it?...
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2 ways to generate electromagnetic wave

According to Maxwell's equations, accelerating charges emit electromagnetic radiation. According to Quantum physics, heating causes electromagnetic radiation too. These 2 radiations, are they ...
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Would a laser with four possible energy levels be better than three?

I'm wondering about achieving population inversion for a laser. I learned that without an active medium, it's not possible to create a laser with only two energy levels, but it would be possible with ...
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Confusion about Length Contraction (ex in Muon decay)

I am a bit confused about the implications of length contractions; For example, in the muon decay problem, we assume that the distance between the muon and the earth is contracted only in the frame ...
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Where is radiation density in the Planck 2013 results?

I've been looking at the Planck 2013 cosmological parameters paper, trying to update my toy cosmology simulator with the most recent data. Most of the interesting values such as $H_0$, $\Omega_m$, ...
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Death by neutrinos - polonium go home

In Randall Munroe's What If? He is calculating the Lethal Neutrinos dose. If you observed a supernova from 1 AU away—and you somehow avoided being being incinerated, vaporized, and converted to ...
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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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A “figure-8” EM field created by a dipole antenna

This question pertains to the EM field of a Pulse W5017 dipole antenna. The data sheet of this antenna can be found here (which contains information regarding the radiation patterns). There are TWO ...
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Radioactive decay - What mechanism decides when an unstable nucleus decays?

My first question on Stackexchange (if it is formatted wrong or something please tell me so I know in future) - here it is: Given an unstable nucleus (exactly which nucleus is not particularly ...
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Do brick walls effectively protect against ionizing radiation from a nuclear explosion?

Of course it depends on the distance and the amount of radiation, so let's say its about 10,000 Rad. Now, can wall made of brick protect someone behind it from such radiation ?
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How can blackbody radition be explained by quantization?

I don't understand why quantization makes a peak on the blackbody radiation curve (so there is no UV catastrophe) and the relationship between that peak and quantization concept. When the blackbody ...
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Why doesn't a nuclear fuel pool become irradiated?

Why doesn't the volume of water in a nuclear fuel pool become irradiated? Why wouldn't the water around the pool become radioactive and circulate around making the whole thing deadly? My question ...
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108 views

What produces this 477 keV spectral line?

Question about a specific line on a gamma spectrum, here. Below is a background gamma spectrum observed by a Ge[li] detector. I've been able to identify all the lines with mostly certainty, apart ...
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Energy balance for beta decay of cobalt-60

I am confused by a simple fact about the $\beta^{-}$ decay of ${}^{60}{\rm Co}$ nucleus. According to Wikipedia, the most likely decay branch is to an excited state of ${}^{60}{\rm Ni}$, see the ...
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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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Radiation emission and absorption

Any object can emit and absorb radiation and the power of emission can be represented by the Stefan-Boltzmann law: $$P=A\epsilon\sigma T^4$$ In many texts the net power radiated is the difference ...
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Transverse current equivalence in Coulomb gauge

I have a question concerning transverse (solenoidal) current in the Coulomb gauge. This current is the one that enables the radiation, since we have a wave equation for the vector potential: $\nabla^...
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Oort Cloud Detection

The hypothetical Oort cloud is an explaination for long period comets. It presumably is made up of icy bodies orbiting up to 50,000 AU from the Sun. If so, shouldn't the Spitzer IR telescope have ...
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Acceleration of electric charges and radiation

According to classical electromagnetic theory, accelerated charges should emit radiation and lose energy. The reason given in my book why atoms don't emit radiation (say, when the atom moves along a ...
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What causes Potassium to decay into Argon the way it does

From evolutionwiki: "Potassium 40 decays into argon 40 through a process known as electron capture. In electron capture, an electron from the innermost electron shell "falls" into the nucleus, ...
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Are these radioactive particle matter and air emmissions dangerous, 2000KM from Fukushima?

I have 2 questions, as a expat and new parent residing in Shanghai (2000km from Fukushima) where we are now experiencing radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant (Japan), we can not get ...
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Is there a direct relationship between an isotope's neutron count and radioactivity?

In my textbook, it lists isotopes of Carbon: C-12, C-13, and C-14. It noted that C-14 is radioactive (C-12 and C-13 are not). Is there a direct relationship between the number of neutrons and an ...
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171 views

Radiation exposure to a child who was briefly in the presence of an adult who had received a 18FDG PET scan

I am a physician who thought she was good at math, but apparently am not as I cannot figure out this mathematical/physics question. (My background is obviously NOT nuclear medicine!) A family friend ...
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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 minutes....
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Optically thick media

What does "optically thick media" mean? Does this property depend on the length of an enclosure? Why is the diffusion approximation for the radiative transfer equation applied to optically thick ...
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Maximum electron momentum in $\beta^-$-decay

This should be easy, but I think I have a mind-block... For $\beta^-$-decay, what is the maximum possible momentum for the electron? The two equations I can use are conservation of energy and ...
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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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Can extra-solar gamma rays reach the Earth's surface?

Can gamma rays of high enough energy entering our planet's atmosphere reach the surface (50% probability)? Or, in other words, is there a window for extremely high-energy gamma rays like for the ...
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Tritium decay is spontaneous even if the binding energy of tritium is higher than the binding energy of 3He. Why?

Given this nuclear reaction: $^3_1\mathrm H\to {}^3_2\mathrm{He}+e^-+\bar{\nu}$ and knowing the binding energies: $BE(^3_1\mathrm H)=8.48 \,\mathrm{MeV}$ $BE(^3_2\mathrm{He})=7.72 \,\mathrm{MeV}$ ...
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Where does the excess energy emitted by a microwave go?

If there is nothing in the microwave, where does the excess radiation go? Why doesn't the radiation accumulate and blow it up? Should I cook two pieces of Canadian Bacon twice as long as I cook one?
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Without a reactor vessel breach, how does radiation build-up in containment buildings of troubled nuclear reactors?

It seems that at Three Mile Island and in Fukushima, there was a build-up of radioactive gasses, and other gasses like hydrogen in the containment buildings. Wikipedia says: The containment [building]...
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Can Half Lives (hypothetically) be Measured by Wave-functions?

I understand that half-lives are measured over several days/months/years of observing a certain amount of an element and seeing how long it takes to decay a certain amount, but I'm curious as to ...
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How to block neutrons

What is a good way to block neutrons and what is the mechanism that allows this? It's my understanding that polyethylene is somewhat effective. Why?
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What does a supernova look like at its peak luminosity?

I know that in some types of supernovae, the cause of the increased luminosity is the radioactive decay of certain elements ejected during the explosion, so a question came to my mind. If the ejected ...
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Does any lower frequency electromagnetic radiation naturally reach us from the Sun?

I am not sure whether the sun originally emits everything in the electromagnetic spectrum, (whatever the relative strengths of each portion might be), but I do read that many waves, including gamma / ...