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Radioactive decay as explained by Wikipedia

  1. Jul 6, 2011 #1
    I am wondering what any experts think about these Wikipedia explanations of radioactive decay. (Wiki asks for help improving this article, so somebody must recognize some issues.)
    Thanks.


    under "EXPLANATION":

    Huh?? Does this mean anything??

    What does "activation energy" assoicated with chemical reactions have to do with radioactive decay..a quantum tunneling effect...a statistical decay??

    under "DECAY MODES IN TABLE FORM":

    Energy carrying mass?? I did not know energy could lug mass all over the place.
    I'm sure the author means "decay energy equivalent to a mass" via E=mc2....

    and
    Huh???? What does this mean??
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2011 #2

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    This simply describes the reason for Half Lives of material and why it's a probability. Quantum tunneling is probability based.
    This means that before the event can occur, there needs to be a small input to "get the ball rolling" so to speak. If you apply more energy to something it has a better chance of tunneling through a barrier in Quantum Tunneling.

    No, ALL energy is accompanied by mass. (Or momentum in the case of a photon)

    This means that the energy from the decay is released as photons and as a moving particle. When they collide or are absorbed by the surrounding material that energy becomes thermal energy, AKA heat. The random motion of particles in a material IS heat.
     
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