Radioactivity

Dr Daniel J Bell et al.

Radioactivity, also known as radioactive decay, describes the process of spontaneous breakdown of unstable (or radioactive) nuclides, with the formation of daughter nuclei and release of subatomic particles and/or gamma radiation

Modes of decay

Radioactive decay is a stochastic process, i.e. it is probabilistic, and it is impossible to foresee which specific nuclei will decay. Nevertheless it can be predicted with a high degree of confidence the proportion of any sample of radioactive atoms that will decay in a specified period of time.

History and etymology

Henri Becquerel (1852-1908) discovered radioactivity in 1896 when studying potassium uranyl sulfate 2

Imaging physics
Physics and imaging technology: nuclear medicine

Article information

rID: 82195
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Radioactive decays
  • Radioactive decay

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