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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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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4k 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?
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289 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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70 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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56 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 ...
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149 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 ...
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172 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 ...
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426 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 ...
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2answers
295 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 ...
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105 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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1k 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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93 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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238 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 ...
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385 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 ...
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127 views

Why is there an emission of gamma rays?

When a spontaneous radioactive reaction happens, there is an emission of gamma rays (in most cases) What causes this emission?
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2answers
115 views

Harmlessness of a pure alpha decay particle

From my high school physics class I remember that there are some particles which exhibit pure alpha decay (i.e. alpha decay to there stable isotope), like Po-210, Po-211 and Bi-209. What I also know ...
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67 views

Calculate energy from an reaction [closed]

I'm trying to calculate the released energy from a reaction. The radioactive substance polonium decays according to this formula: $$^{210}_{84}\mbox{Po} \rightarrow \mbox{X}+^4_{2}\mbox{He} $$ At ...
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255 views

Radioactive Decay

Problem:Nuclei of a radioactive element $\Bbb X$ having decay constant $\lambda$ , ( decays into another stable nuclei $\Bbb Y$ ) is being produced by some external process at a constant rate ...
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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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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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107 views

Conversion of energy to mass with radioactive decay

Consider the following problem: The nuclei of Am-241 decay by the emission of $\alpha$-particles with a kinetic speed of $8.8 \cdot 10^{-19} J$. In a certain source of Am-241 there are $ 4.0 \cdot ...
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Why is carbon dating limit only 40,000 years?

For an example, when they tried to get the carbon dating for presence of Aboriginal people in Australia they get to the number 40,000. But it could be much earlier. Why is that 40,000 years limit for ...
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Besides transmutation, is there any way to “speed up” the decay rate of radioactive material?

I'm well aware of transmutation as a way to effectively make radioactive material decay faster, however that isn't really what I mean. Doing a quick Google search I found references to several ...
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272 views

nuclear fission and half life

Why is the alpha, beta or gamma decay of an unstable nucleus unaffected by the chemical situation of an atom, such as the nature of the molecule or solid in which it is bound? The chemical situation ...
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3answers
306 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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307 views

What is the momentum of these emitted photons?

5 x 10^7 kg of radioactive material emits energy in the form of photons of red light (700 nm). (Note: photons have no mass.) What is the momentum of each photon? ...
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77 views

Photons emitted by radioactive source

Can we calculate the number of photons emitted per second by a radioactive source (gamma) ? we can take 100g of barium-133 as an example
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1k views

How do you calculate the equivalent absorbed radiation dose from activity, type of emission, and the energy of the emission?

I have a sample of U-238 of which my Geiger counter detects beta activity at 700 events per second. Based on the counter's efficiency of 98.6% for U-238, the activity would be about 710 becquerels, I ...
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258 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
152 views

Radioactivity and quantum superpositions

In the Schrödinger's cat experiment 'there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small that perhaps in the course of the hour, one of the atoms decays'. The rest of the experiment magnifies this ...
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965 views

Do some half-lives change over time?

I was recently doing some physics tuition on radioactivity and the student claimed her chemistry teacher had said that radioactive substances can be grouped into two divisions: those whose half-life ...
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4answers
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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?
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5answers
455 views

Thorium radioactivty vs Uranium radioactivty nuclear power

May i please open this question by asking that if you intended to answer this please could you provide links based on your answer. I have read ( and posted one ) on thorium and a lot of the answers ...
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Artificial planetary magnetic field

I wonder how difficult it is to create an artificial planetary magnetic field with generators? What power they would need? The question is inspired by thinking about possible colonization of ...
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155 views

Energy Question

Carl throws 100 g of Bohrium-262 (Half life: 0.10 seconds, undergoes alpha decay) to Sukhdeep with a initial horizontal velocity of 20.0 m/s at an initial height of 2.00 m above the ground. What is ...
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2answers
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Why is technetium unstable?

Is there a simple account of why technetium is unstable? From the Isotopes section of Wikipedia's article on Technetium: Technetium, with atomic number (denoted Z) 43, is the lowest-numbered ...
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672 views

Why are synthetic elements unstable?

So far 20 synthetic elements have been synthesized. All are unstable, decaying with half-lives between years and milliseconds. Why is that?
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422 views

Does the Earth's revolution around the Sun affect radioactive decay?

Premises: The radioactivity is either hastened or slowed inside a fast moving aircraft. Speed of fastest aircraft: 3,529.6 km/h. The earth's revolution is: 107278.87 km/h. The earth's ...
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520 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 ...
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277 views

Alpha Decay or Fission

In a quiz contest, I came across the following question: What is the term used to describe the splitting of a heavy nucleus into two lighter nuclei? Two options provided were: a) Alpha Decay b) ...
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Mars Curiosity Power System

Curiosity's power source comes from a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) rather than from solar panels like the two Mars Rovers. 2,000 watts of thermal power from alpha particle emission in ...
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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 ...
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5answers
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Radioactive decay, why such unintuitive formula?

When talking of exponential decay, as with radioactive decay, the formula used (e.g. Wikipedia and my textbook) is: $$ N(t) = N_0e^{-\lambda t} $$ This formula, with the decay constant $\lambda$ ...
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1answer
171 views

How to make neutron activation analysis online or with free software?

i want to make a neutron activation analysis for different crystals. (MnWO4, TbMnO3, and others) how can i do this with free or open source software? Can someone recommend a online calculator for ...
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7answers
2k views

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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169 views

How can radioactivity change depending on the number of nuclei? [closed]

I came across this problem. Please help me solve it. A radioactive sample S1 having an activity of $5\ \mathrm{\mu Ci}$ has twice the number of nuclei as another sample S2 which has an activity ...
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2answers
766 views

Why is radioactive decay dependent on amount of substance available?

Radioactive decay is an attribute of unstable nucleus. When we represent it in equation, we don't involve any macroscopic attribute of substance. But still, rate of radioactive decay is proportional ...
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205 views

Relativistic Mass including exponential decay

So from what I gather, relativistic mass = $m_0\gamma$ where $\gamma$ is the lorentz factor. So if i have a mass that is .5 at rest then it is safe to say that the relativistic mass will be 1 if it ...
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XP Decay mode of radioactive nucleus

The decay mode of Carbon-8 is listed as 'XP' in this table. None of the references I looked at listed XP as a decay mode. What is it>