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Q & A: Whence the radiation of alpha, beta, and gamma rays?

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Most recent answer: 02/01/2013
Sir,Can you tell me..From which part of an atom Alpha,Beta & Gamma etc rays emitted...& another question is that These rays are emits from same element or atom....So why the these rays are so different from each other????
- Aqib (age 18)
Hello Aqib,

Mainly from the decay of atomic nuclei. For example, one common decay mode is alpha emission. For example 238U --> 234Thorium + alpha particle + kinetic energy.  All the fundamental quantities are conserved:  charge, energy, momentum, angular momentum...  Some nuclei decay with beta emission. Beta rays are really energetic electrons or positrons. For example 137Cs --> 137Ba + negative beta ray.   A neutrino always accompanies beta emissions in order to conserve what is called lepton number.   Gamma rays can also accompany these decays. 
I can go on and on but there are much more comprehensive discussions.  I suggest you take a look at the Wikipedia article:


(published on 02/01/2013)

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