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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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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$\require{mhchem}$ $\ce{\beta^{+}}$ 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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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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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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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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Differentiating between mass number (A) and activity (A) in a nomenclature/glossary

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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46 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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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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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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60 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ?
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298 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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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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What is average life in radioactivity and what is its significance?

By definition, average life of radioactive sample is the amount of time required for it to get decayed to 36.8% of its original amount. But what is the significance of 36.8% and why has that value ...
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29 views

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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What did Marie Curie do for atomic theory?

There appears to be a distinct lack of agreement in the physics community on what exactly Marie Curie did for atomic theory. Many journals state that Curie was responsible for shifting scientific ...
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128 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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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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186 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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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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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 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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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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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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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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What other shielding material than lead is effective against gamma rays?

As the question in the title states I am wondering what material can be effectively used to shield gamma rays apart from lead? I believe concrete is often used, but it is nowhere near as effective as ...
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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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What happens to chemical compunds that include radioactive nuclei, when those decay?

Say you have a chemical compound made up of one or more radioactive nuclei. If the nucleus decays, does the compound? Possible outcomes I can think of: the compounds continues to exist if a ...
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6answers
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What needs to happen for one to ingest radioactive particles and how likely is this?

There are many stories about radioactivity and the relative danger of it in the news lately, but very little actual information. The radioactivity levels around Fukushima Daiichi are high, but seem ...
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Since radioactive material decays how is it possible that there is any left after 4.5 billion years?

I was not able to find an answer for this question... Some radioactive elements have half-life measured in thousands of years and some others even in millions, but over 4.5 billion years all the ...
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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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86 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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How do people calculate half-life of an element? [duplicate]

While reading about radioactivity I encountered the following numbers: Bismuth-209 has a half-life of $1.9\times 10^{19}$ years and tellurium-128 has a half-life of $7.78\times 10^{24}$ years. When ...
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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?