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Conservation of momentum and nuclear decay (Gr 12 Physics)

  1. Jan 27, 2016 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A stationary nucleus undergoes radioactive decay. A beta particle and a neutrino are detected leaving the nucleus. What is the recoil velocity of the remaining nucleus? If the recoil velocity measured is significantly different from the calculated velocity, what conclusion might a nuclear physicist reach about the decay?

    I've solved the first part of the question. As for the second part, it's been a long time since I took chemistry and there are no relevant examples in my textbook.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    My guess is that there was another particle involved in the decay that was not detected.

    I realize I'm expected to figure stuff out on my own so it'd be great if someone could at least suggest what I should research. My Google searches haven't been very helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Right. Or the physicist got the calculation wrong. Or something similar to the Mössbauer effect happened, but that is unlikely for beta decay.

    If the neutrino is not detected, there is also a more interesting other option.
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