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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279 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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1answer
104 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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1answer
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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1answer
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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1answer
79 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 ...
2
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1answer
222 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 ...
7
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2answers
372 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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1answer
113 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
108 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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1answer
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 ...
6
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2answers
245 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 ...
4
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2answers
181 views

$\require{mhchem}$ $\ce{\beta^{+}}$ 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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4answers
427 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 ...
2
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1answer
104 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 ...
7
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
2
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0answers
94 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
264 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 ...
12
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3answers
283 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 ...
0
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1answer
286 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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76 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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1answer
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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2answers
238 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 ...
2
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1answer
145 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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3answers
902 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
418 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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2answers
2k views

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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2answers
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 ...
4
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1answer
629 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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1answer
402 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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1answer
510 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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2answers
254 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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2answers
601 views

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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3answers
647 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 ...
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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
169 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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3answers
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
739 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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2answers
202 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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1answer
58 views

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>
4
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2answers
270 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 ...
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1answer
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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: ...
2
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1answer
90 views

Program for radiation and toxic hazards

I worked in my masters thesis with $^{87}Rb$ and $^{40}K$, really small beta emitters. But there are so many other things around in the lab, that I want to keep track on all the things I might get in ...
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171 views

How do we know that internal conversion creates no intermediate photon?

I've read, from several sources, that in internal conversion -- an excited electron transferring its energy to another electron which is then emitted -- no intermediate gamma radiation is produced. ...
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2answers
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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?
2
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1answer
123 views

Earth's beginnings and early years, Re radioactive decay or not

It is said that the Earth and solar system are 4.6 billion years old. Presumably this date is achieved from radioactive decay. If this is the case, since most of the radioactive elements would have, ...
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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 ?
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1answer
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How was Be-8's Half-Life of 7E-17 Second Determined?

Radionuclides occur with half-lives in a vast range of over 37 magnitudes as listed in this site. In question 7584, Lubos Motl explained how Gyr half-lives were determined. This method doesn't appear ...