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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617 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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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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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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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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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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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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1answer
109 views

Use of fission products for electricity generation

Why can't we use fissions products for electricity production ? As far has I know fissions products from current nuclear power plants create enough 'waste' heat to boil water; and temperature ...
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702 views

The problem of self-force on point charges

Allow me to preface this by stating that I am a high school student interested in physics and self-studying using a variety of resources, both on- and off-line, primarily GSU's HyperPhysics website, ...
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What exactly is the difference between radiation, conduction, 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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Would being underwater help survive a nuclear bomb?

If I jump in my pool, on the river near my house knowing that a nuclear bomb, or atomic or H-Bomb exploded around 10 km from my house, would I survive? The way I see it is that water will protect me ...
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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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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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545 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
388 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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6answers
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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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Can UV light make us invisible?

For an object to create different EM waves, it needs to increase the temperature, so what if we or some material could be so hot, that it would emit ultraviolet light, and thanks to that be invisible ...
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Would wearing clothing that is black on the inside and white on the outside keep you cooler?

The Straight Dope ran an explanation of why nomads often wear black clothing - it absorbs heat better from the body. On the other hand, white clothing reflects sunlight better. Is it possible to get ...
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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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1answer
570 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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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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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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1answer
546 views

Is it possible to generate electric energy from the radiation of radioactive materials

I wonder if it is possible to generate electric energy from the radiation of radioactive materials like nuclear waste? If it is then wouldn't that also mean that it could be used as an energy source ...
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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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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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What does the decay constant mean?

In my curriculum, the decay constant is "the probability of decay per unit time" To me, this seems non-sensical, as the decay constant can be greater than one, which would imply that a particle has a ...
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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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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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$\beta^+$ 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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796 views

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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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
349 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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1answer
2k 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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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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$\alpha$ 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 ...