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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Measuring Activity

The formula for Activity of a radioactive substance is $ \frac{dN}{dt}=A=λN $. If we have an initial number $N(0)$ of some Radionuclide, which has a halflife of, say, 12 hours, is there any ...
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Question on decay constant

I have a model of the radioactivity of a target which is undergoing Neutron Spallation. The Protons are incident upon the target for approximately 200 hours. Within the model, over the course of ...
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69 views

Is (or why isn't) static charge as lethal as ionizing radiation?

Ionizing radiation, e.g. the "stuff" emitted by radioactive materials, is dangerous to humans since changes to the electron configurations (in the human body) causes the various molecules (in the ...
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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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Why not dilute radioactive waste?

Radioactive wastes are dangerous because unstable elements are too concentrated. Originally radioactive elements come from nature where they were very diluted and that's why they were secure. So why ...
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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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92 views

Can the same isotope sometimes emit gamma rays alongside alpha (or beta) rays and sometimes emit just the alpha (or beta) rays?

Is it possible that sometimes all the energy goes to the alpha (or beta) particle so that no gamma rays are emitted and other times part of the energy is emitted as a gamma quant?
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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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149 views

How can I calculate the uncertainty in radioactive decay

So I have an exercise that says that the initial rate of $14\mathrm{C}$ was $13.5$ (per second) and nowadays it $10.8$ (per second). The half-life time is $5730$ years with an uncertainty of $30$ ...
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78 views

Error in total counts

I'm performing a radioactivity experiment where I measure a specific number of counts in some time period t. Later on I take the total count rate. (Number of counts/time: $N/t$) I'm supposed to find ...
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62 views

Electronic energy level in alpha and beta radioactivity

My textbook says that : " When a nucleus in an atom undergoes a radioactive decay, the electronic energy levels of the atom changes for alpha and beta radioactovity but not for gamma radioactovity. " ...
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104 views

Can a sample of beta radiation be considered as the fabled philosophers stone? [closed]

Given that it is possible to produce gold in nuclear reactors (even if not economical), is there a natural source of beta radiation whose half life is similar to that of human lifetime and whose beta ...
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38 views

Order of emission of radioactive particles

Is there any sort of sequence in the emission of radioactive particles? ie. alpha, beta, gamma or any other type of decay I don't know about. Specifically, I wanted to know is there any evidence to ...
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64 views

why is gamma ray ejected during radioactive decay?

Why are gamma rays are emmited? Why is it not that an x ray or infrared or ultraviolet or cosmic or microwave ray is emmited?
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1answer
32 views

Effect of radioactive decay on the structure

In case of electricity, the understanding is that conductivity occurs only on the surface of the element.Is it true for radio-active decay as well ? If not and the decay occurs within the element, ...
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1answer
34 views

Notation on chart of the isotopes

I recently purchased a complete chart of the isotopes, (this one: https://shop.marktdienste.de/shoppages/produktuebersicht.aspx ) and have it on the wall next to me in work. The different coloured ...
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1answer
34 views

Radioisotope beta decay generator

Why are there no electrical generators utilising the electron/s of beta decay from a radioisotope for generating a working current? For example, how much radioisotope would I need to generate 1A or ...
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2answers
73 views

Why didn't accelerator mass spectrometry greatly improve the accuracy of carbon dating?

My understanding of the limitation of radiometric dating is that background radiation swamps the radiation from C14 once the remaining atoms get few enough in number. Accelerator mass spectrometry ...
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425 views

Island of Stability

When I was much younger, I remember being fascinated by the thought of an Island of Stability at very high atomic numbers. However, I have not heard much on this and I was wondering Did this idea ...
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from where does the beta(negative) particle get velocity from?

a neutron decays into a electron a proton and an antineutrino,the proton stays in the nucleus,why does the electron come out though it is attracted by the positively charged nucleus,from where does it ...
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What is this jump in U235 fission yields?

Is it an artifact? (I have drawn the black line). Or can anybody explain it theoretically? The plot is the "235U Chain 14MeV" provided in the website https://www-nds.iaea.org/ Some sources call it ...
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3answers
643 views

Was the early Earth radioactive?

I've been reading of the (surprising) fact we are uncertain on whether there is nuclear fission in the center of the Earth or not (yet we know so much detail on structures at the other end of the ...
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1answer
30 views

How would an eruption affect radiocarbon dating?

Nuclear testing above ground and the burning of fossil fuels might affect the outcome of radiocarbon dating. How would an eruption the size of Yellowstone or larger affect radiocarbon dating?
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81 views

Relativistic Effects of Radioactive Decay in Carbon Dating

Theoretically if in early years the earth was moving at an astronomically different pace (whether in orbit or rotation, whatever sounds better) wouldn't that alter the science of carbon dating? As I ...
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18 views

Can an excited nucleus capture a second neutron? [duplicate]

I am wondering if is it possible to have the following scenario: Nucleus captures neutron. Nucleus is excited but does not relax through decay but captures another neutron. Maybe it is possible if ...
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79 views

Estimation of the age of Earth

By calculating the ratio of U-238 to Pb - 209 the age of the earth can be estimated. Is it not a possibility that non radioactive lead already there formed during the birth of earth it self alter the ...
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139 views

Does Bell's theorem exclude local hidden variables as explanation for radioactive decay?

Often it is said that Bell's theorem (and the observed violations thereof) rules out local hidden variable theories as the explanation for the seeming non-determinism found in quantum mechanics. I'm ...
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133 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 ...
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132 views

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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247 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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3answers
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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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32 views

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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69 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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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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Changing the Half-Life of Radioactive Substances

Is there a way to extend or reduce the half-life of a radioactive object? Perhaps by subjecting it to more radiation or some other method.
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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 ...
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How do we know that some radioactive materials have a half life of millions or even billions of years?

If a radioactive material takes a very long time to decay, how is its half life measured or calculated? Do we have to actually observe the radioactive material for a very long time to extrapolate its ...
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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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71 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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731 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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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 fission/...
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103 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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Can only radon-222 decay into polonium-218?

Is radon-222 the only element that can decay into polonium-218?
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606 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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25 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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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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977 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. http:/...
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220 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: https://www.youtube.com/...
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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 ...