Talk:Beta particle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Physics (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Physics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Physics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Comments by Jtoomim[edit]

The article says, "Beta particles may be stopped by a few milimeters of aluminium. A beta particle's flight is ten times farther than an alpha particle, as it ionizes a tenth less than an alpha particle." 'A tenth less than' is equivalent to saying '90 percent as much as'. I suspect that the intended meaning was 'a tenth as much as'. Can someone who knows a whit about physics confirm this? --Jtoomim 02:18, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Comments by[edit]

how does a neutron split up in beta- radiation?-- 16:03, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC) It's process mediated by the charged current weak force. "How" doesn't get much clearer then that I'm afraid.

"β− decay (electron emission)"[edit]

"An unstable atomic nucleus with an excess of neutrons may undergo β− decay, where a neutron is converted into a proton, an electron and an electron-type antineutrino (the antiparticle of the neutrino)" 

i was under the impression that neutrinos were neutral and therefore there were no such thing as an antineutrino. can someone verify this for me? JetJon (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:29, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

"future use section"[edit]

I think this should be scrapped, or changed substantially. It seems pretty clear to me that they are not going to be used in this fashion. A few references to the use of nuclear cells in the past is reasonable, but asside from solar vehicles and so forth they arn't really practical in this fashion. So unless somone has a citation to the contrary, I'm going to make a reference to betavoltaic cells in the "uses" area and scrap this section. Simon.p.hastings (talk) 00:30, 18 July 2010 (UTC)


I've put in some edits to the description of the diagram. This is misleading because while these may be "rules of thumb" as far as the sort of relationship these have, it is not true in general. Some weak gamma's will be easily stopped by aluminum foil, whereas a strong beta requires several inches of plastic.

Tidy up etc[edit]

I thought that the first line should refer to 'Beta particles' as this is the title of the article, and then went on to tidy a few things up.

I thought the paragraph about electron guns being a source of beta radiation should be removed. This is because, strictly speaking, beta radiation originates in the nucleus of an atom, whereas the electrons used in a television are produced from an electron gun - it's not the same thing!

I've never see someone claim convincingly that they are not. The source is essentially irrelevent.

--AjAldous 13:51, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The entire Health section could be reworded in my opinion, to provide a more cohesive flow. Bform (talk) 03:18, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

This sentence needs help[edit]

"It does this by converting one of the two up quarks in the proton into a down quark, leaving two down quarks and one up quark (a Neutron) to convert an up quark into a down quark a -1 charge is carried away to observe charge conservation (the W- boson, then the electron, as an up quark carries a charge of +2/3 and the down quark has a charge of -1/3; this quark is said to have undergone a flavor change)" This sentence (which is actually multiple fragments) has 81 words, and is incomprehensible to me! Olin 19:11, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Alas, my physics isn't up to the task, but yes, it's competely unreadable. Tannin 13:50, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I tried to clean up that sentence; hopefully it is more comprehensible now. I also added a subsection on inverse beta decay. Heather 19:26, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Inverse beta decay[edit]

"where a proton is converted into a neutral pion (AKA pi-meson), a positron and an electron-type neutrino:" should read "where a proton is converted into a neutron, a positron and an electron-type neutrino:" Aoosten 22:25, 9 June 2007 (UTC)


References are outdated and new ones are needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Merging to Beta decay?[edit]

Only the lead paragraph talks specifically about beta particles and beta-radiation. The majority of the article is about the two forms of beta-decay, which are already treated in much greater detail in the dedicated article. It does make sense to have an article specifically on beta particles, but then it should concentrate on things like penetrative power, biological effects, applications, etc. Hqb (talk) 10:02, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Actually, it looks like the article did contain such material in the past, but it was edited out; I have restored some of it. I withdraw the merge proposal, but the article should still be fleshed out. Hqb (talk) 10:11, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

High energy vs high speed[edit]

OK, if beta particles are just a free electron or positron, wouldn't 'high energy' BE 'high speed', and vice versa? Or are they trying to say it is traveling fast in one direction (ie, 'high speed' meaning linear motion) while at the same time vibrating rapidly back and forth in a second dimension (and thus, presumably giving off electromagnetic energy, that being the 'high energy' part of the description)

Also, presumably the 'beta particles' aren't a FORM of 'ionizing radiation', but GIVE OFF 'ionizing radiation'.

But the real question is, why should a beta particle ALWAYS be high speed AND high energy when it emerges from an atom? Is this some law of nature or do we only notice the ones that happen to be traveling fast and giving off a lot of electromagnetic energy? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:41, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

According to the Wikipedia article "Beta decay":

"Emitted beta particles have a continuous kinetic energy spectrum, ranging from 0 to the maximal available energy (Q), which depends on the parent and daughter nuclear states that participate in the decay. A typical Q is around 1 MeV, but it can range from a few keV to a few tens of MeV."

So, it's not correct to say that beta particles are high speed, high energy particles. They can be anywhere on the energy spectrum from high to low energy, even 0 energy, and thus anywhere on the speed spectrum from zero to (presumably)the speed of light. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:07, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Greek letters / symbols[edit]

Is there some way to have Wikipedia display Greek letters more accurately so that the nu looks like a nu and not a v? I fear that this lack of accuracy leads many students to perpetuate the use of incorrect symbols, which leads to inaccurate or incorrect understanding of the science. (talk) 17:00, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

The way symbols are rendered on any computer is almost solely a function of the particular typeface specified. Wikipedia and my browsers with default settings are doing a fine job: they are already accurate and ν inherently looks like v exactly as it is supposed to do. I think you'll find that you less want Wikipedia to display the Greek letters accurately and more want Greek based symbols with serifs, probably written in italics. Given the use and reuse of symbols within physics context tends to make clear the (re)definition of symbols and I would urge you to ensure you are teaching your students the context adequately.
However, if you insist, I doubt anyone would object strongly to you replacing ν with 𝜈 in many instances—though the latter may itself end up being confused with v. Waerloeg (talk) 02:19, 27 June 2014 (UTC)