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Proton decay

  1. Jun 2, 2012 #1
    We're made of roughly 10^28 protons. Let's imagine that the average lifespan of a proton were 10^28 years even though it is much higher. That would mean one proton per year would decay in our body. How much harm would one proton decay cause us?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2012 #2
  4. Jun 3, 2012 #3
    I know that. What I'm wondering is how much energy does proton decay release and how much harm would that energy release cause us.
  5. Jun 3, 2012 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    The decay mode given by Wikipedia's article on proton decay has a net result of ##p \rightarrow e^+ +2 \gamma##. Can you calculate how much energy that would release, corresponding to the difference in mass?
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  6. Jun 3, 2012 #5


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    About 100-1000 radioactive decays happen in an average human per second - not from protons, but from other particles. This is a rough estimate, but it is enough to show that proton decays (if possible) are completely negligible. In addion, some high-energetic muons cross a human body each second.
  7. Jun 4, 2012 #6
    Not to mention the (rough) 200 mrem per year from just radon decay.
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