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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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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What is happening over the 15 minutes it takes a neutron to decay?

I've read that free neutrons decay into a proton, electron and neutrino with an average lifespan of about 15 minutes. Is there anything physically different about a neutron that has existed for 14 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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What common materials absorb most infrared light?

I'm competing in a simple robotics competition where most of the participants use reflected infrared light to detect their opponent. I'd like to make my own robot as difficult to see as possible. What ...
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161 views

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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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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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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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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Do human bodies give off a consistent but unique radiation/electromagnetic/energy signature?

Is there any facet of the energy emitted by a human body that is consistent and unique - like a fingerprint, but a signal that could be detected by a remote device?
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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What is the temperature of the clear night sky from the surface of Earth?

Before you all jump in with 2.73 K or thereabouts, this is more of an experimental question. It will obviously depend on humidity and radiation being scattered back towards the surface of the Earth. ...
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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 / ...
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What is the difference between Radiation and Electromagnetic Radiation

Are the two equivalent or is Electromagnetic Radiation a subset of Radiation. I am further confused by the fact that electromagnetic radiation includes both ionizing and non ionizing types of ...
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How can we detect cosmic background radiation?

From what I understand, CMB is the left over radiation from the Big Bang. As all matter, including the Earth, was made during the Big Bang and then as the universe expanded that matter/energy got ...
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One way insulation?

I know from basic physics lessons that a box painted black will absorb heat better than a box covered in tin foil. However a box covered in tin foil will lose heat slower than a black box. So what ...
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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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$\alpha$ decay to more than one nuclear state

I do not understand how $\alpha$ decay can be a probabilistic process such that there are multiple products from the decay. For example: $^{241}\mathrm{Cm}$ decays to the excited states of ...
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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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What is the connection between the non-reversibility of the decay of unstable nuclei (as Uranium, Plutonium) and the 2nd principle of thermodynamics?

The 2nd principle of the thermodynamics says that if a system (e.g. an ideal gas) is left undisturbed, its number of microscopic states only increases. This is a statement of irreversibility of the ...
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Soft Bremsstrahlung: why $\hat{k}\cdot\mathbf{v}= \mathbf{v}'\cdot\mathbf{v}$?

On page 181 in Peskin & Schroeder they say that we consider the integral (intensity) $$\tag{1}\mathcal{I}(\mathbf{v},\mathbf{v}') = ...
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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: ...
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The logarithmic decay of WIFI

I have been told that Wi-Fi, LTE etc signal strength fall of as $$\propto \frac1{\log(r)}$$ where $r$ is the distance. I am wondering why this is. I better explain what I mean with this question. ...
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The most stable metal for radioactive environment

Could you suggest which metal/alloy shows the least activation & better long-term stability for space (LEO, inside Van allen belts, deep space) applications? Or stability of construction ...
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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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What is the shielding in nuclear reactors mainly against?

I have a little knowledge about ionizing radiation and I have been confused over why nuclear reactors need these massive shields. So, if I am not mistaken, Alpha and Beta radiation are not that ...
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Modeling incoming solar radiation

I want to write a model for estimating incoming solar radiation for a specific latitude on earth but I am struggling to find an appropriate source which shows the required equations for doing so. ...
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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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How does radiation degrade mechanical parts and electronic devices?

I'm running out of places to look (lots of Googling, SE, [articles and books are too specific and never give a good overview]), and yet I am still unsure about how exactly radiation can degrade ...
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Radiation: Inverse square law

Gamma radiation follows the inverse square law, I understand this as "double the distance, quarter the intensity" So if you have a gamma source, at the source (distance = 0), the Intensity is $I_0$, ...
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Kinetic energy of alpha-particle in $^{212}$Po decay

Admittedly, Nuclear Physics is not my strength. I'm writing a simulation to model alpha-decay. So far, I have looked up the values of the kinetic energy of the alpha particles that are emitted in a ...
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Can a free hydrogen atom constitute ionizing radiation?

Radiation is basically just particles flying around, right? Are free hydrogen atoms just typically not moving fast enough to be considered "radiation"?
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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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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 ...