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Q & A: beta decay

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
in beta decay, a neutron becomes a proton and an electron, however, when the electron is released as beta emission why does the particle not become charged (because there is an extra proton to the number of electrons)
- Anonymous
Australia
A:
Well it does, at least for a while.  The energetic electron flies away somewhere and the atom, previously neutral, becomes charged.   So if a wandering stray electron comes nearby the atom, now positively charged can capture it and then become happily neutral again.

Lee H

(published on 10/22/2007)

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