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an isotope that is unstable and emits radiation


the spontaneous emission of radiation by an unstable atomic nucleus

alpha particles

high-speed, positively charged particles emitted during the decay of some radioactive elements

beta particles

a negatively charged particle (an electron) emitted from the nucleus of an atom during radioactive decay.

gamma rays

high-energy radiation that has no electrical charge and no mass, is not deflected by electric or magnetic fields, usually accompanies alpha and beta radiation, and accounts for most of the energy lost during radioactive decay

nuclear decay reaction

a reaction which occurs when an element is bombarded with particles and releases radiation

nuclear equation

a type of equation that shows the atomic number and mass number of the particles involved


the amount of time it takes for one half of a sample of a radioisotope to decay

particle accelerator

a machine that moves atomic nuclei at higher and higher speeds until they crash into one another, sometimes forming heavier elements

transuranium elements

93-118-- synthesized in the lab


roentgen equivalent for men- calculated to include the amount of energy transferred and the sensitivity of the body to that type of radiation


a device that measures the total amount of radiation that a person is exposed to

geiger counter

the most common instrument used to detect radiation in the environment


a large nucleus is split into two smaller nuclei of approximately equal masses

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