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Q & A: How does a neutron change into a proton?

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Most recent answer: 01/05/2010
Q:
How does a neutron changes into a proton?
- sudeepta (age 16)
jorhat, Assam, India
A:
The reaction is  neutron --> proton +  electron + anti-neutrino. 
All conservation laws are respected:  energy, momentum, charge, lepton number, and baryon number.  The speed of the reaction is determined by the strength of the interaction force, in this case the so-called weak interaction and also the amount of kinetic energy available. 
Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_decay   for more information.

LeeH










(published on 01/05/2010)

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