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Definition of an unstable atom.

  1. Oct 31, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Definition of an unstable atom

    2. Relevant equations
    The definition = the answer.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    My guess is an atom with an unbalance in the strong or weak nuclear forces, leading to radioactive decay. Does anyone have any better ideas?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2011 #2

    Delphi51

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    What you describe I would call an unstable nucleus.
    To me, an unstable atom is one whose orbiting electrons are not in stable states. Like a hydrogen atom that has absorbed energy that puts the electron at an n=2 level. It will soon fall back to ground state and emit the energy.
     
  4. Nov 1, 2011 #3
    It was talking about radioactive decay for the rest of the homework, so I assume that is what it was talking about. Of course, I could just put that and troll the teacher. :tongue:
     
  5. Nov 1, 2011 #4

    Delphi51

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    Okay, then it is the nucleus planning to rearrange itself as you said.
    Avoid antagonizing the teacher - let him concentrate on making more interesting questions for you. But do suggest an improvement in the wording for next year.
     
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