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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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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1k views

Effect of temperature on radioactivity?

I'm researching the effect of temperature on uranium radioactivity, however I can't find any solid empirical evidence to prove the notion that temperature does not affect radioactivity. Can anyone ...
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210 views

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 ...
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274 views

Can one see radioactive substances with an X-ray detector?

I was wondering the other day an X-ray detector (like the ones used at airports) can detect gamma-rays lets say from a sample of uranium. I know its all electro-magnetic waves but I'm really unsure ...
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234 views

The vacuum as trigger

Do the apperance in the atomic nucleus of virtual matter-antimatter particle pairs play a role in the random nature of radioactive decay?
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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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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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647 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 ...
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681 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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4answers
102 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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5answers
391 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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106 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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208 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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1k 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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1answer
234 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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1answer
139 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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1answer
57 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>
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226 views

Can stable nuclei theoretically fission through quantum tunneling?

As I understand it, an unstable nucleus is going to randomly fission because the forces binding it together are momentarily weaker than the electrostatic repulsion of the protons. Given that some ...
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1answer
34 views

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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1answer
196 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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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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1answer
122 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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91 views

Creation of Nuclear Isomers

As I understand it, if a nucleus is excited with energy exceeding its ground state, it releases energy via gamma radiation. An example would be technitium 99m, a medical tracer with a 6 hour half life ...
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3answers
1k views

Work of Marie Curie?

I've been reading about the work of Marie Curie recently after a friend filled me in on what she did (never having had much of an idea previously) and it's all very interesting. What I can't ...
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2answers
533 views

Iodine isotope question

Quick question for the nuclear engineers/physicists out there Where does I-134 come from? I cant find it in any of the charts of standard decay products of Uranium fission, but there is tons of the ...
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1answer
24 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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1answer
51 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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101 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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1answer
36 views

In a radioactive Bose-Einstein condensate, would all the atoms disintegrate simultaneously?

They're all supposed to do the same thing - so I suppose they would? Also, would the resulting half-life be the same as that of the individual atoms it is made up of?
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59 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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1answer
102 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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87 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 ...
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64 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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397 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 ...
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192 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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62 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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208 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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3answers
108 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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232 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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48 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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195 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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442 views

Significance of isolation of radium? [duplicate]

This is an extension of my previous question here. Marie Curie isolated radium in 1903, which paved the way for the development of the theory of radioactivity. In regards to the techniques she used ...
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1answer
114 views

experimental setup to measure Center-Of-Momenta of products from spontaneous radiactive decay

This question is an attempt to complement this other question about fluctuations in radiactive decay. This question is completely experimental though: in general, suppose i have certain sample of a ...
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1answer
23 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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1answer
25 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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0answers
18 views

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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1answer
26 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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21 views

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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1answer
51 views

Using $A = {\lambda}N$ to find when a the amount of a radioactive source becomes constant

The question and mark scheme I will write in bold and my own thoughts in normal sized text. I'm told that: When a $\bf{_{92}^{235}U} $ nucleus is exposed to free neutrons it can absorb a neutron. ...
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55 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 ...