The property of some materials by which individual atoms decay, emitting energy or particles often transforming into different elements in the process.

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What happens to Cosmic Ray Neutrons at the Earth?

When Cosmic Rays fall down from the sky, they produce lots of neutrons. They are "added" to the Earth system, so what is happening to them? Do they decay to protons? It would follow that they then ...
2
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1answer
36 views

In a radioactive Bose-Einstein condensate, would all the atoms disintegrate simultaneously?

They're all supposed to do the same thing - so I suppose they would? Also, would the resulting half-life be the same as that of the individual atoms it is made up of?
2
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1answer
23 views

What is the distribution of energy between the alpha, beta and gamma particles emitted in nuclear fallout per one RAD?

I have been trying to find a relation to be able to convert from RAD to REM. What I found is that I need to know the "quality factor" as some sources call it, which is the effect of different ionizing ...
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1answer
22 views

Critical size and Radioactive Nuclei

Nuclear fission requires the mass of the fissile material above the critical mass. So that the explosion takes place at least in the case of a nuclear bomb. But once a single nucleus got involved in ...
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2answers
99 views

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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60 views

Radioactive decay law and the exponential model, is it always valid?

The law of radioactive decay reads $$ N(t)=N_0e^{-\lambda t}$$ Is it valid when there is less than 1 nucleus or particle to decay? Obviously, it is nonsense to consider that we have 1/2 of nucleus ...
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45 views

Is the half-life of Primordial Nuclide determine only by the age of the earth? [closed]

Is the half-life of Primordial Nuclide determined only by the age of the earth? Or are their other age defining considerations? The point of the question is to know that the only reason that we have a ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Why do all elements above $\require{mhchem}\ce{Fe}$ not decay to $\ce{Fe}$?

OK, so $\ce{Fe}$ is the most 'stable element'. As such, why do all elements above it not decay into $\ce{Fe}$? In all cases, would it not lead to an increase in binding energy and therefore energy ...
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2answers
73 views

Where did the energy of the charge go?

Suppose there is a positron and an electron, and they both collide, and we get $E=2mc^2$ of energy from the collision. Now, the charge also got vanished. Now suppose, I create neutrinos from the ...
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1answer
98 views

What is a real world application of Madam Curie's life work?

As in the title. I know she was working with radioactive atoms and she made huge progress in the field of physics. But where would you find the application of her discoveries in our world? Is it just ...
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1answer
25 views

When and why spontaneous nuclear fission is preferred to alpha emission?

I reasoned as follow: the probability of an $\alpha$ emission $^A_ZX\to^{A-4}_{Z-2}X^{'}+\alpha$ is given by: $T=e^{-G}$ where the Gamow factor is given by: $G\simeq \pi \sqrt{\frac{2\mu ...
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179 views

Radioactive stability of some nuclei

While studying radioactivity I found that even the most radioactive substances i.e substances with the shortest half lives do not completely degenerate. Suppose there is a 1 mole sample of an ...
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3answers
206 views

Any real life demonstrations of radioactive decay? [duplicate]

I'm skeptical about a lot of things in physics, but I have a great interest in it and I'm studying it in college next year. However I am very skeptical about some things. I find that for physics, it ...
2
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4answers
102 views

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
105 views

Is it possible to produce gamma radiaton using radio emitter?

As in the title, I'm wondering is it possible. I think it is possible, because we have powerful enough radiotechniques and gamma radiation are just EM waves, not particles. However I think is ...
2
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1answer
34 views

Radioactive half lifes

What is the typical half life of material released from nuclear fission? This is a question I received for yr 12 physics and I can't find a proper answer telling me what the material released is and ...
2
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2answers
59 views

Rutherford alpha scattering?

From Rutherfords alpha scattering, where alpha where fired at a thin peace of metal foil, he concluded that the nuclie was positivly charged. He made this conclution from the fact that alpha particles ...
2
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1answer
51 views

Decay/Counts/Number of Nuclei

I'm writing up a lab report and have a question about the following formula $$N = N_0e^{-\lambda t}$$ $N$ indicates the number of nuclei left after a time $t$ and $N_0$ indicates how much there was ...
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3answers
612 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
23 views

Beta Decay Energy

Consider $\beta ^-$ decay. \begin{align*} ^{198} Au \rightarrow ^{198} Hg + e^- + \bar{v_e} \end{align*} The decay energy is given by the difference in mass between multiplied by the speed of light. ...
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0answers
18 views

Time scale when measuring total activity from radioactive sample

I have measured the total activity from a radioactive sample during an experiment by counting the number of decays happening in 3 seconds intervals. I got data as: Time bin: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... ...
0
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1answer
52 views

Calculating a radioactive sample's mass from its activity [closed]

The question reads as such: "What is the mass of a 1.05 µCi carbon-14 source?" First I convert to decays/s: $R = 1.05 µCi=3.885 \times 10^4 decays/s$. The half-life for carbon-14 that we've been ...
4
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1answer
83 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 ...
2
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1answer
194 views

Is radioactive decay spontaneous or random?

When the count rate of a radioactive isotope is measured, the readings fluctuate. Do the fluctuations demonstrate the random nature of the decay or the spontaneous nature? (This question was asked in ...
3
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2answers
130 views

How clean will first generation fusion reactors be compared to fission reactors?

Googling the topic seems to indicate that fusion reactors will produce less waste and less toxic radioactivity, but this fact never seems to be mentioned during the current debate over nuclear power. ...
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4answers
165 views

Time Dilation at zero velocity (and zero gravity)

From what I've learned, the more an object travels closer and closer to the speed of light, the more time will slow down for that object.. at least from an outside perspective.. It was shown that ...
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53 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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1answer
48 views

Why does Se-82 undergo double beta decay?

Looking at the decay chain, I saw it undergoes double beta decay. How is it feasible for something to undergo a simultaneous double decay?
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12answers
6k views

How does a half-life work?

Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years. That means that after 5,730 years, half of that sample decays. After another 5,730 years, a quarter of the original sample decays (and the cycle goes on and ...
0
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1answer
58 views

What is the theoretical wattage output of a Tokamak fusion reactor?

By that I mean the complete radiative wattage of any type of energetic radioactivity or electromagnetic wave or even particle if that's what they output. My purpose is to compare this to the suns ...
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1answer
26 views

Differentiating between mass number (A) and activity (A) in a nomenclature/glossary [closed]

I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask this question, but as it's related to the terminology of nuclear physics I thought it would probably be a logical place to start. I'm currently writing ...
0
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0answers
72 views

Why tritium doesn't undergo $\beta^-$ decay to form $He^3$?

In my textbook it is written that Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen whose nucleus Triton contains 2 neutrons and 1 proton. Free neutrons decay into p + electron + anti-neutrino . If one of the ...
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0answers
21 views

How does beta+ decay actually occur? [duplicate]

I'm having difficulty in understanding beta plus decay. How can a proton which has slightly less mass than neutron transform into a neutron, positron and neutrino? Form where does the extra mass for ...
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2answers
137 views

Does strong magnetic field cause time dilation?

Does strong magnetic field cause time dilation? If you have a strong magnetic field, and a magnetic radio active material. Does the half life of the radio active material change in a strong magnetic ...
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1answer
50 views

Using $A = {\lambda}N$ to find when a the amount of a radioactive source becomes constant

The question and mark scheme I will write in bold and my own thoughts in normal sized text. I'm told that: When a $\bf{_{92}^{235}U} $ nucleus is exposed to free neutrons it can absorb a neutron. ...
3
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2answers
130 views

What is average life in radioactivity and what is its significance?

By definition, average life of radioactive sample is the amount of time required for it to get decayed to 36.8% of its original amount. But what is the significance of 36.8% and why has that value ...
0
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1answer
30 views

Does KI have to be a salt of stable I-127 isotope?

I was recently watching a TV show where some people exposed to radiation were asked to take KI. I googled for the information and discovered this and also the Wikipedia article. From what I read, I ...
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3answers
2k views

How can a proton be converted to a neutron via positron emission and yet gain mass?

The mass of a neutron is greater than mass of a proton so how is it possible in positron emission for a proton to form a neutron and a positron?
2
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1answer
229 views

Radioactive decay / binding energies

If my understanding is correct, the binding energy determines a nucleus' stability and the greater the binding energy, the more stable the nucleus (e.g iron-56). The mass of the sum of nucleons that ...
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63 views

Can radioactive energies become electromagnetic

I am trying to learn about radioactive energies and wonder if, because these also seem to come under the topic of radiation, can these energies become electromagnetic. I'm pretty much a beginner, so ...
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55 views

Recover activity from photo at Fukushima

This photo was published at stern magazine online. I wonder which information about the physical quantities could be reconstructed or computed given this photograph, the exposure time, and the ...
5
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1answer
138 views

Number of decays in a chain reaction

It is widely known that the probability of $n$ decays from one system to another $A \rightarrow B$ (e.g., electrons decaying from one atomic energy level to another or muons decaying into neutrinos ...
0
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1answer
150 views

Mean stopping range of $\alpha$-particles in air

I did an experiment in university in which I determined how far $\alpha$-particles emmited from an $Am^{241}$ source penetrate into air. I want to compare my result to literature values but... I cant ...
0
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1answer
355 views

Inverse Square Law in Beta Radiation

Setup: A radioactive source is placed at alternating distances from a Geiger Counter. Counts per second for 10 different distances (each spaced 1 cm apart) were taken for preset times ranging from 200 ...
4
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2answers
255 views

Can bad guys really hide “dirty bomb” material via bananas?

This one probably has some cross-over with Skeptics SE, but I thought it fits here a little better. The concept comes from the TV show NCIS:LA second season episode "Empty Quiver" Here, the villains ...
2
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1answer
102 views

Probability density of detection of collinearly emitted photons in two detectors

Update: As proposed by @dmckee, I added equation numbers and improved the display of some equations. The answer by @Trimok inspired me to look at coordinate systems which are not specific to the ...
0
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1answer
920 views

Nuclear reactions conservation laws

I'd want to know the basic rules to apply the conservation laws in nuclear reactions (nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, radioactive decays, etc.) to determine parity and angular momentum of the ...
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44 views

Where can I find a device or how can I make a device that measures only Alpha particles?

Are there special muller tubes that only measure alpha for example?
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78 views

Is the fraction of radioactive isotopes on the near side of the moon higher than on the far side?

As time passes more slowly in a region of space close to the source of a gravitational field, shouldn't the moon, which always has one side facing towards the earth, have a higher fraction of ...
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191 views

Is sub critical plutonium “safe” to handle?

Apparently, in Los Alamos scientists handled sub critical masses of plutonium (for example the demon core) with little or no protection. Richard Feynman and others mentioned that plutonium spheres ...