5
votes
2answers
76 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
202 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
votes
4answers
97 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
58 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
votes
3answers
349 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
votes
1answer
43 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
votes
1answer
80 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
48 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
144 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
votes
1answer
342 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
321 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
358 views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

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?
0
votes
1answer
474 views

How is tritium illumination possible without negative health effects?

Turns out there's tritium illumination - a tiny very strong plastic tube will be covered in phosphor and filled with tritium. Tritium will undergo beta decay and a flow of electrons will cause the ...
5
votes
3answers
571 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
247 views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

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?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

How to calculate gamma radiation shielding?

A device emits 0.2 μSv/h of gamma rays. How thick does an aluminum sheet need to be to completely stop radiation from coming out ? What equation is to be used to calculate this ?
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Problem on nuclear physics radioactivity [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do we know that C14 decay is exponential and not linear? Please help me solving this problem. Find the half life period of uranium-238,if one gram of it emits ...
0
votes
0answers
45 views

radioactive decay in molecular constituents [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What happens to chemical compunds that include radioactive nuclei, when those decay? Suppose a radioactive atom, which is incorporated in a molecule, decays? What ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
390 views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
383 views

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 ...
10
votes
6answers
915 views

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 ...