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beta decay

noun, Physics.
a radioactive process in which a beta particle is emitted from the nucleus of an atom, raising the atomic number of the atom by one if the particle is negatively charged, lowering it by one if positively charged.
Origin of beta decay
1930-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for beta decay
  • The neutrino was first noticed as missing energy in nuclear beta decay.
  • So in the case of an ideal bottle, the rate of decay should be equal to the beta decay rate.
  • The easiest place to look for a trace of symmetry is in the beta decay of neutrons, where the asymmetry was first discovered.
  • The data indicated that the mean energy emitted by the beta particles was far less than the total energy lost per beta decay.
  • It is produced in many nuclear reactions such as in beta decay.
  • In a standard double beta decay, two neutrons are converted to two protons, releasing a pair of electrons and a pair of neutrinos.
British Dictionary definitions for beta decay

beta decay

the radioactive transformation of an atomic nucleus accompanying the emission of an electron. It involves unit change of atomic number but none in mass number Also called beta transformation, beta process
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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beta decay in Science
beta decay  
A form of radioactive decay caused by the weak nuclear force, in which a beta particle (electron or positron) is emitted. ◇ In beta-minus decay, a neutron in an atomic nucleus decays into a proton, an electron, and an antineutrino. The electron and antineutrino are emitted from the nucleus, while the proton remains. The atomic number of the atom is thereby increased by 1. The decay of Carbon-14 into Nitrogen-14, a phenomenon useful in carbon dating, is an example of beta-minus decay. ◇ In beta-plus decay, a proton in an atomic nucleus decays into a neutron, a positron, and a neutrino. The positron and neutrino are emitted from the nucleus, while the neutron remains. The atomic number of the atom is thereby reduced by 1. The decay of Carbon-10 to Boron-10 is an example of beta-plus decay. See also W boson.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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