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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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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244 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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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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633 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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94 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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81 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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733 views

Long time deviations from exponential decay in radioactivity

Are there any examples of common substances whose decay is not exponential? We're used to thinking about radioactivity in terms of half-lives. This is a concept that makes sense only for a decay that ...
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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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240 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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639 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 ...
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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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81 views

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 ...
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484 views

What is the relationship between radation intensity and count rate?

If you know that the radioactive source is, for example, Cesium-137, is it possible to extrapolate a relationship between the count rate and radiation intensity? If it is not possible, what is the ...
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67 views

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 ...
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56 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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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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Why is beta negative decay more common than beta positive?

In simple terms, why is beta negative decay more common than beta positive? I know it's something to do with occuring inside/outside the nucleus - but I can't find a simple, easy to understand ...
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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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137 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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84 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 ...
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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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80 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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159 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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44 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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191 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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503 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 ...
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160 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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$\require{mhchem}$ $\ce{\beta^{+}}$ decay for $\ce{_9^18F}$, computing $\Delta m$

For the decay: $$\require{mhchem}\ce{_9^18F\to_8^18O +e+ +{v}}$$ To compute $E$, I need $\Delta m$, the provided answer looks like: $$m_i = 18.000938~u$$ $$m_f = 17.999159~u + 2~(5.49 \times ...
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1k views

Decay of Cobalt-60 isotope

How does the Gamma decay of Cobalt-60 occur? Motivation: A research team led by D. Habs made contributions to our understanding of the gamma decay of Ca-40 and Zr-90: ...
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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?
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447 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 ...
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3k 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 ...
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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 ...
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2k 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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81 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 ...
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32 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 ...
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62 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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401 views

Radio-dating and the age of the earth

I understand there are a few radio-dating methods to determine the age of the earth, uranium-lead to name one (maybe not the best though). The ratio Pb206 + Pb207 to U allows you to find when the ...
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38 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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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 ... ...
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497 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 ...
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172 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 ...
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263 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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65 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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157 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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Why do they consider radioactive matter with long half lives more dangerous than matter with a short half life?

The title says it all. For example why is plutonium considered more dangerous than radioactive iodine?
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162 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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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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476 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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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 ?