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Beta Decay

Radioactive decay of elements involving the conversion of protons or neutrons into different atomic particles.

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Radionuclide Therapy

Radionuclide Therapy

Credit: Silsor, derivative work: RicHard-59
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Radiation_sign_round.svg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

You might see this universal warning sign for radiation in a hospital. A hospital is a place for healing. Why would it have a sign warning people of dangerous radiation?

Why It Matters

  • Radionuclide therapy might be one reason. Radionuclide therapy is a method of curing cancer that uses radioactive isotopes.
  • Credit: IndyDina with Mr. Wonderful
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlesister/490643515/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    The type of machine used in radionuclide therapy [Figure2]

  • Watch this excellent animated video showing how radionuclide therapy works:


Can You Apply It?

At the link below, learn more about beta decay and its uses. Then answer the questions that follow.

  1. Who discovered beta decay? What is another name for beta particles?
  2. Beta particles have a lot of energy. What does it take to stop them?
  3. What is radionuclide therapy?
  4. Explain how radionuclide therapy works.
  5. What is another real-world application of beta decay?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Silsor, derivative work: RicHard-59; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Radiation_sign_round.svg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: IndyDina with Mr. Wonderful; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlesister/490643515/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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