Hi everyone, sorry I've been quiet since Sunday! I was planning to share my plan of the week on Monday, but then the day just sort of disappeared, and I really don't know what happened to the rest of the week either (I know that yesterday disappeared since I was in charge of the nuclear physics group's christmas party, and this weekend, including today, I'm at Trysil, but Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I really don't know...:/)
Anyway, here are 10 facts about Beta radiation, since today is Friday and it's rime for facts (read about Alpha radiation HERE):
- beta radiation consists of particles - you can call it betas, beta particles or beta radiation.
- beta particles (or betas or beta radiation) is just exactly the same as electrons - beta particles are free electrons.
- you can have either beta plus or beta minus radiation (so it's actually not exactly true that beta particles are electrons, because if they're beta plus particles, then they're positrons, and if they're beta minus, then they're electrons).
- I think beta decay (the process where a nucleus emits a beta particle) is really weird: I mean, a neutron actually changes into a proton (or a proton changes into a neutron, if it's a beta plus).
- beta minus decay is also called electron emission, and beta plus decay is called positron emission.
- when a nucleus emits (sends out) a beta particle, it transforms into a nucleus that has a higher proton number (hydrogen would for example turn into a helium nucleus, since helium has one more proton than hydrogen) - this also means, that, yes, you can make gold from platinum, that has one less proton than gold.
- beta particle a are sometimes relativistic - that means that they move with a speed that's close to the speed of light, and that makes them seriously difficult to deal with (for instance theoretical calculations).
- if the beta particle is emitted in air, it usually moves a few meters before it is stopped (it has a range of a couple of meters in air). In water it moves only a few centimeters. This means they're quite easy to shield yourself from...
- most fission products emit beta (minus) radiation.
- beta radiation can cause actual "burns" on your skin; you can see (and feel) that your skin turns red, if you're very close to an intense source of beat radiation.