Alpha beta and Gamma

1. May 4, 2004

AnthreX

i get what alpha is
but i do not really get what betta and gamma is

can someone please explain to me ?

thanx

2. May 4, 2004

chroot

Staff Emeritus
They're just greek letters. Their meaning as symbols for physical quantities (even by convention) depends greatly upon context. Are you talking about special relativity? Quantum mechanics?

- Warren

3. May 4, 2004

swansont

That grouping suggests you are discussing radiation. Alphas are He-4 nuclei, betas are electrons or positrons, and gammas are photons (electromagnetic).

4. May 5, 2004

ShawnD

More specifically, they are electrons or positrons that came from neutrons. In a nuclear reaction, a neutron can be broken into a proton and an electron, that electron is called a beta particle.

5. May 5, 2004

AnthreX

alpha is the particle from an unstable nucleus

he-4 yes it is

beta is an electron but where does it come from? is it from the nucleus ?

gamma is a ray which is has no mass and just like light

this is all i know about beta and gamma

can somone add something to my statement ?

6. May 5, 2004

jcsd

Beta radiation is (basically) formed by either of the reactions oir simlair reacions

$$n \rightarrow p^+ + e^- + \bar{\nu}_e$$

$$p^+ \rightarrow n + e^+ + \nu_e$$

In most cases the neutron and the proton (all in the protons case) will be assocaited will be part of a nucleus so in effect the beta particle will come from the nucleus.

Gamma rays are simply photons that are produced by nuclear reactions (for example sometimes after beta decay the daughter nucleus is left in an excited state and will emit a gamma photon) or anihilation (for example):

$$e^+ e^- \rightarrow \gamma\gamma$$