I know this is nitpicking, but the definition of a “stable” vs. a “radioactive” isotope seems a little silly to me. The usual definition of a stable nuclide (or isotope) is one that humans have not observed to decay. A radioactive nuclide is one that humans have observed to decay. A stable element is one…… Continue reading Bismuth became radioactive in 2003
I claimed in a previous post that, for a given atomic mass number, there is one and only one nuclide that is immune to all forms of beta decay. It occurs to me that I was probably technically wrong, especially since I made it clear that I considered atoms with different nuclear energy states to…… Continue reading Beta-stable nuclides with the same mass number
What primordial radioactive nuclides (isotopes) still exist in the Earth’s crust? To figure that out, we might need to know the original abundances of various nuclides in the matter that now makes up the Earth’s crust. I haven’t found good data on that. But it’s pretty easy to calculate what the abundances would have to…… Continue reading Is there any niobium-92 left?
In how many different ways can an isolated neutral non-exotic atom decay? When an atom decays, it spontaneously changes into something else. That “something else” is inevitably two or more particles, none of which is the same kind of atom as the original. I also need to also explain what a “kind of atom” is.…… Continue reading Simple classification of radioactive decay