Can someone clarify what Ionizing Radiation is and how it relates to Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Emission and/or Absorption? A question in the Princeton Review Science Workbook read: The daughter nucleus of CS-137 is:... and the answer is 137 - Barium. The text says that Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Particles are destructive because of their ability to ionize atoms they collide with. So this suggests (given the answer to the question) that the Ionizing Abilities of such radiation (alpha, beta, and gamma particles/radiation) can cause a neutron to break open and release an electron, thus leaving an extra proton (this is how CS-137 became Ba-137. Barium has 1 more proton than Cesium and Ba-137 has the same mass). But in doing some side reading, I found that Alpha , Beta, and Gamma particles induce ionization by exciting electrons they collide with. This is different from breaking open a neutron. Can anyone clarify?