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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How do electrons jump orbitals?

My question isn't how they receive the energy to jump, but why. When someone views an element's emission spectrum, we see a line spectrum which proves that they don't exist outside of their orbitals ...
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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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Decay of massless particles

We don't normally consider the possibility that massless particles could undergo radioactive decay. There are elementary arguments that make it sound implausible. (A bunch of the following is ...
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Is there any thing other than time that “triggers” a radioactive atom to decay?

Say you have a vial of tritium and monitor their atomic decay with a geiger counter. How does an atom "know" when it's time to decay? It seems odd that all the tritium atoms are identical except with ...
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509 views

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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What temperature can you attain with a solar furnace?

A solar furnace is a device that concentrates the sun's light on a small point to heat it up to high temperature. One can imagine that in the limit of being completely surrounded by mirrors, your ...
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Why are alpha particles such a prominent form of radiation and not other types of nucleon arrangement?

It is said in many textbooks that alpha decay involves emitting alpha particles, which are very stable. Indeed, the binding energy (~28.3 MeV) is higher than for $Z$-neighboring stable isotopes. But ...
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Why doesn't orbital electron fall into the nucleus of Rb85, but falls into the nucleus of Rb83?

Rb83 is unstable and decays to Kr-83. Mode of the decay is electron capture. Rb85 is stable. The nuclei Rb83 and Rb85 have the same charge. Rb85 is heavier than Rb85, but gravitation is too weak to ...
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Why do electrons emit radiation?

I know how you can emit light with an alternating current, running back and forth, creating an electric field in addition to the magnetic field. But why does an electron emit light when it gets ...
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What exactly is the difference between radiation and convection?

Okay, so everywhere I've read, I hear the main difference is the requirement of a medium. But for example, if you take the case of heat 'radiating' from a red-hot iron, isn't that actually convection ...
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Antimatter bomb

I stumbled upon this wikipedia article on antimatter weaponry. Being greatly appalled by the sad fact that large sums of money are being wasted on this, I could not stop myself from thinking for a ...
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“Dear radioactive ladies and gentlemen” - Letter by Wolfgang Pauli

In 1930, Wolfgang Pauli wrote a letter to Lise Meitner for a convention in Tübingen, considering the problem of beta decay. Does anybody know, where to find the original letter online ?
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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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Nuclear decay rate affected by sun and quantum randomness

If nuclear decay rate were affected by sun, then emission probabilities would be subject to sun state and its influence, so quantum randomness would depend on it, Would it still be truly random? One ...
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304 views

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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1answer
326 views

Specific electron energy gap values $E_{i+1}-E_i$ vs. photons with arbitrary energy $\hbar \omega$

The energy levels of electrons in an atom are quantized $E_i$. A photon of a specific momentum $\vec p$ and energy $$\omega=(E_{i+1}-E_i)/\hbar$$ hits an atom and gets absorbed. Okay now say the ...
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Is a suit that hides a soldier's heat signature fundamentally possible?

I recently played "Crysis", a game where the protagonist wears a suit that allows the player to hide both himself and his heat signature. Then I watched Iron Man 3, where a kid suggests that Tony ...
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507 views

Why were the fathers of quantum mechanics so sure radioactive decay was indeterministic?

The classic example of an indeterministic system is a radioactive isotope, e.g. the one that kills Schrödinger's cat. I get there are arguments against hidden variables in quantum mechanics, but how ...
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Why are alpha particles made of 2 protons and neutrons?

When experiencing alpha decay, atoms shed alpha particles made of 2 protons and 2 neutrons. Why can't we have other types of particles made of more or less protons?
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Why is the spectrum of the $\beta$-decay continuous?

the spectrum of the Gamma and Alpha decays are both discrete, i.e. the $\alpha$-particles and the $\gamma$-rays take on only discrete values when emitted from a decaying nucleus. Why is it then, that ...
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Tunneling of alpha particles

Consider this explanation of the alpha decay: It says The Coulomb barrier faced by an alpha particle with this energy is about 26 MeV, so by classical physics it cannot escape at all. ...
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389 views

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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Cherenkov radiation and K-40

I am thinking if it's possible to detect Cherenkov radiation in water caused by dissolved natural potassium (KOH) in it without using photo-multipliers. The main question is does 1 beta particle ...
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4answers
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Can nuclear transmutation be observed in real time?

Ignoring the quantum zeno effect (if possible?), can we observe in real-time the transformation of one element to another? I'm talking about an amount visible to the naked eye where one could see ...
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3answers
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Why is the black body radiation so important?

In the derivation of the black-body radiation formula the assumption is made that the system is an electromagnetic cavity, so that it can be considered in thermal equilibrium. Leaving aside the fact ...
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3answers
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Neutron decay and electron anti neutrino $n\to p + e + \bar{\nu}_e$

Why do we need neutrino to explain neutron decay? Is there any evidence regarding existence neutrinos in the context of $n\to p + e + \bar{\nu}_e$?
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Is it possible to speed up radioactive decay rates? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do some half-lives change over time? Would it be possible to considerably speed up the decay rate of an isotope? Considerably meaning more then a 1 or 2% increase in ...
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283 views

What is the condition for accelerating charge to radiate?

I was always taught that any accelerating charge produces radiation, but I don't think this condition is sufficient condition. For instance, any free charge on Earth is accelerated due to Earth ...
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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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214 views

$\beta^+$ decay

We've been discussing radioactive decay at school, and I grasped everything except for $\beta +$ decay. When I googled radioactive decay, I immediately found out they dumbed down radioactive decay for ...
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1answer
177 views

Increasing the efficiency of solar cell systems

As far as I know, there are currently two main approaches to utilising solar radiation for maximum energy conversion to electricity. These are either direct conversion to electricity, using ...
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Why aren't betavoltaics and alphavoltaics batteries widely used?

Betavoltaic batteries are devices which creates electricity from beta radiation of a radioactive material. Alphavoltaics operate similarly, using alpha radiation. The concept was invented roughly 50 ...
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1answer
368 views

Does neutron radiation form clouds?

I've heard a couple of scary stories from experienced accellerator physiscists about something called neutron clouds. Apparently, if you have an experiment like a fixed-target experiment that produces ...
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769 views

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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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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1answer
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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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2answers
549 views

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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1answer
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How do gravitational waves sustain and propagate large scale spacetime curvature?

I understand that gravity in GR is a manifestation spacetime curvature dictated by the field equations by the principle that objects follow the geodesic path in spacetime. And, I get how ...
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Does an object's color change its rate of cooling?

The motivation for this question comes directly from this thread. The proposition is that the color of something changes how fast it cools (note: specifically the rate of cooling, not taking into ...
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1answer
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Alpha scattering, observations and conclusions

For Rutherford's alpha scattering experiment where he fired alpha particles at a thin sheet of metal to determine the size of the nucleus, please can someone give me the direct link between his ...
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Where does the “borrowed energy” come from in Alpha decay?

I was also thinking about the uncertainty principle in regards with energy & time. The question of something like: Alpha tunneling out of the nucleus is where this can be invoked, but having an ...
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Reconstruction of information stored in an evaporating black hole from the emission spectrum?

For simple setups, where the radiation field deviates not too far from thermodynamic equilibrium (< 10 %), corrections to the Planckian thermal emission spectrum can be calculated (and measured) ...
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How does radiation shielding using absorbing materials work?

I understand that, for example, a thick enough sheet of lead can absorb gamma radiation, but I want to understand what actually happens at the molecular/atomic/subatomic level. Also, can the same ...
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2answers
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How Does Lead Block Radiation

How is it that lead can block radiation, and things are lead lined. In the Indiana Jones 4 movie he climbs inside a lead-lined fridge and he somehow survives the blast and radiation?
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1answer
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Would matter-antimatter annihilation create a fireball or not?

There has been a long discussion between me and Anna V on if the products of the annihilation will really cause a fireball to form and we haven't settled it yet. Our point here is that gamma rays ...
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Jupiter radiation belt: where >MeV particles comes from?

When I read some discussion about exploration of Jupiter moons, or possibility of life there, a common argument is high dose of radiation in Jupiter's radiation belt (several orders of magnitude ...
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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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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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1answer
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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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How does quantization solve the ultraviolet catastrophe?

I understand how classical physics leads to the UV catastrophe. But I cannot understand how quantization solves it. How can quantization prevent the body from radiating a lot of energy? I know ...