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 are the longest half-lives we can detect experimentally? What stops us going further? Are we trying to?

Xenon 136, apparently, has a half-life of 2.11×1021 years. This strikes me as a humongously long time to run an experiment, clocking in at about 11 orders of magnitude longer than the age of the ...
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47 views

Is it possible to decrease the mass of the object?

It is known that the Higgs boson gives mass to elementary particles. Also known that if manipulate with the Higgs field and decrease mass of particles then atoms starts to decay and the object will be ...
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Why are heavier nuclei unstable?

If you have more neutrons than protons, then there will be more strong force present to counteract the repulsive forces between protons. Why is it that above bismuth, no nucleus is stable, regardless ...
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Is the spontaneous fission-yield curve for 240Pu known?

I have not seen any data for the isotopes produced by spontaneous fission of plutonium. I believe this will be dominated by 240Pu as the major even-numbered isotope produced in reactor operations. I ...
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11 views

Probability distribution of the decay of a single radioactive nucleus [duplicate]

A single radioactive nucleus has a constant probability to decay at any moment. Does this imply that the decay of the particle has a uniform probability distribution from the point in time of the ...
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41 views

How to derive the Gamow factor in the simplest way?

I want to know how to derive the Gamow factor (how to solve the integral and which approximation I have to do) without the centrifugal correction. $$V(r) = V_N(r)+V_c(r). $$ The Gamow factor is ...
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123 views

Radioactive objects in a student's room [closed]

Contrary to common believe, radioactive materials are everywhere, including inside our bodies, our food, the air we breathe and so on. From Wiki (emphasis mine): The decay of a 14C atom inside ...
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22 views

Decay chain governed by first long-lived particle?

Suppose we have a decay chain reaction A->B->C-> ....Z Why is it a good assumption that the decay rate of all species in the chain is governed by the rate of the first long-lived one? Suppose B -> C ...
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857 views

Is half-life a statistical average of variable decay times?

Is the half life of a material only accurate as long as you are still in a macroscopic regime? If I had 8 particles in a box would I observe a fluctuation in half lives, and what would occur within ...
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30 views

Gamma decay with lowest energy?

What is the (by current knowledge) least energetic example of a gamma decay into the nuclear ground state? I am only considering degrees of freedom of the nucleons, i.e. without the electrons. (I ...
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3answers
111 views

Why do only heavy radioactive elements perform fission or fusion?

Why do only heavy radioactive elements perform fission or fusion? I mean what's so special about heavy elements which makes them ideal for nuclear fission? Also why do only neutrons show ...
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1answer
38 views

ionising atom(s) with gamma rays

if a gamma ray hits an electron and transfers energy, does it hit that electron (ionising the atom), transfer all its energy and stop or does it pass through multiple electrons, transferring a portion ...
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53 views

Can only radon-222 decay into polonium-218?

Is radon-222 the only element that can decay into polonium-218?
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443 views

How do particles “know” when to decay?

So, as I understand it, in a substance that is made of radioactive elements, the half-life tells us how long until the half of those atoms decay into their next atom [is there a name for that: the ...
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1answer
18 views

Can an ensemble of meta-stable systems be prepared so their survival probability drops approx. linearly right after preparation?

In this answer dealing with details of decay theory (incl. references) it is shown that [Given] a system initialized at $t = 0$ in the state [...] $| \varphi \rangle$ and left to evolve under a ...
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4answers
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Does average lifetime even mean anything?

So today I was trying to derive an expression for the number of radioactive atoms remaining after a time $t$ if I began with $N_0$ atoms in total. At first I tried to assume that they had an average ...
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161 views

Can we find the exponential radioactive decay formula from first principles?

Can we find the exponential radioactive decay formula from first principles? It's always presented as an empirical result, rather than one you can get from first principles. I've looked around on the ...
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1answer
344 views

True randomness via Radioactive decay [duplicate]

Is radioactive decay able to be used for true randomness? And do we know if radioactive decay is truly random? Edit. Here is a example true random number generator made using radioactive decay. ...
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168 views

Why aren't we affected by radium?

1)We have radium clocks, watches, wrist bands and many things which glow because of radium but we know that radium is radioactive so why isn't it harmfull for us when in bands, watches etc. 2)Does it ...
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1answer
33 views

What physical quantity can be deduced from an activity vs. time half-life decay graph?

I have a simple theoretical question regarding half-life decay graphs for radioactive substances. If the graph plots activity versus time (not mass versus time), then what physical quantity can ...
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2answers
58 views

Can we predict the half-lives of radioactive isotopes from theory?

Is there any way to predict the half-lives of radioactive isotopes from theory (that is, using only theoretical considerations, without using data about the decay)? For example, could we predict that ...
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33 views

help calculate the Rydberg constant for hydrogen [closed]

The wavelength difference between the longest lines in the Balmer and Lyman series for hydrogen is 534.7mm. Calculate the Rydberg constant for hydrogen.
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1answer
38 views

Carbon-14 formation in atmosphere

Wikipedia says Carbon-14 is formed in the atmosphere by the reaction: 1n + 14N → 14C + 1p This looks like neutron capture. However, I would expect neutron capture to result in 15N. However, "proton ...
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Is it possible that every single isotope is radioactive, and isotopes which we call stable are actually unstable but have an extremely long half-life?

I've read that tellurium-128 has an half-life of $2.2 \times 10^{24}$ years, much bigger than the age of the universe. So I've thought that maybe every single isotope of every single atom are ...
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3answers
327 views

Would 2 entangled atoms decay at the same time?

I have a very basic understanding of entanglement and radioactivity. But say 2 uranium atoms are entangled and then 1 of them decays, what would happen? Would the other atom decay as well? Or if not ...
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1answer
52 views

Working out the penetration of radioactive decay products

From my understanding of the products of radioactive decay (alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma are all I know of), the particles (or energy I guess?) are stopped by a medium according to it's ...
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What happens before a radioactive element decays?

What happens to a radioactive element just before it decays? In school, I've been told that the decay process of an element is absolutely random, and it is impossible to determine which unstable ...
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2answers
204 views

If earth's magnetic field disappeared, would cosmic radiation lead to increased radioactivity?

This is about the effect of cosmic radiation on earth. Is it the type of radiation that could make things radioactive? So if earth's magnetic field weakened considerably (such as could happen if it ...
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1answer
44 views

Activity of a radioactive source - distribution of number of impulses per unit time

I have the following problem: The activity of a radioactive isotope was measured with the result $N=625$ impulses/second. If this measurement were to be repeated, state the interval where we can say ...
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1answer
36 views

Device to Test Radioactive Beverage

In one scene of the movie "Edge of Darkness", the protagonist uses a device to test the radioactivity of milk in a glass container by placing the device near but outside the container. What is this ...
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1answer
208 views

How hot is Plutonium-238 in Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs)?

As I understand it, Plutonium-238 is used to provide power through heat generation in radioisotope thermoelectric generators. My question is... how hot is a pellet of Plutonium-238? Does the heat ...
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2answers
53 views

Photon yield of NaI

We have to calculate the photon yield of the scintillator NaI. We have measured his pulse height spectrum but we have no idea how to solve this problem. Can someone explain it? The source that we used ...
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1answer
155 views

Polonium tea emergency [closed]

Let's assume that I just realised that tea I drunk 30 minutes ago during meeting with a secret agent was doped with radioactive polonium. What should I do? What the doctors will do? Are there ...
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3answers
107 views

We don't know when a nucleus will decay. Then how can find its half life? [duplicate]

I mean how can we say that in 5730 years, 1/2 the no. of C14 nucleus will decay because in reality we don't know when a particular nucleus will decay
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92 views

When will an atom emit alpha particle, beta particle, or gamma rays?

How can we predict which particle the radioactive element will emit?
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Is it a problem with radiometric dating that carbon 14 is found in materials dated to millions of years old?

The preferred method of dating dinosaur fossils is with the radiometric dating method. And the result of this accepted method dates dinosaur fossils to around 68 million years old. However: Consider ...
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22 views

Determine the number of grays absorbed by human emitted by Uranium 238

I want to count the estimated value of gamma radiation (in Grays) absorbed by human emitted by Uranium 238. Weight of it's ore is about 20 grams. The human weight is about 70 kilograms, he was about 5 ...
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33 views

Identify this radioactive-particle filter?

I am wondering if anyone can provide further info as to the preliminary principle involved in the filter shown below, any internet links would be appreciated. Is taken from a magazine related to ...
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1answer
49 views

Problems with calculating Strontium-90 leakage due to Fukushima accident

Not long ago there was a spill of radioactive water at the Fukushima plants. Here are the data: $230 \times 10^6 \,\,\mathrm{Bq}$ of beta radiation are found in a liter of water. $t_{1/2} = 28.79 ...
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1answer
61 views

Identification of massless, chargeless $x$ in a nuclear reaction

On Friday, we had our Physics test. We (the tenth grade students) have the basic introduction to Radioactivity and a few nuclear reactions in our syllabus. In the test, the following question was ...
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248 views

What does the exponential decay constant depend on?

We know the law of radioactivity: $$N=N_0e^{-\lambda t}$$ where $\lambda$ is the exponential decay constant. My question is: This constant depends of what?
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4answers
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Is an atom charged after undergoing beta emission?

After beta emission, an atom's mass number remains the same while the number of protons increases by one. As far as I know, the beta particle (electron) is too energetic to be recaptured. If this is ...
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2answers
44 views

Detecting radioactive material at a distance

I have heard a lot about the failures of even the best-funded anti-ballistic missile technology. The usual explanation is that ABM is very hard after the boost phase because of evasion techniques and ...
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636 views

Why does an atom remain uncharged after emission of an alpha particle?

When an alpha particle is emitted, two protons and two neutrons leave the nucleus but the electrons remain the same in number. Why does the atom remain uncharged although it appears it should have a ...
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1answer
127 views

Radiation level risk: mSV, exposure and current status of chernobyl area

I was watching this two videos from youtube. One is a documentary about Chernobyl disaster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5vlk_d6hrc Another is a random personal video: ...
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511 views

Verifying radiation measurement smart phone applications

I've stumbled upon a strange class of Android applications lately. (And I'm sure such applications are available for other platforms too.) These apps claim the ability of detecting radiation. The ...
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1answer
148 views

Cobalt 60 beta decay

In the beta decay of an atom of Co60, the radiation you would expect is one or two gamma rays, plus an electron plus an electron neutrino (and in the nucleus Ni60+, if I understand it well). However, ...
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3answers
244 views

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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2answers
31 views

Radioactivity features

What happens if someone would make a wire coil around nuclear reactor core? What are the possibility to capture radioactivity directly?
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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 ...