beta decay

noun

Definition of beta decay

: a radioactive nuclear transformation governed by the weak force in which a nucleon (such as a neutron) changes into a nucleon (such as a proton) of the other type with the emission of either an electron and an antineutrino or a positron and a neutrino

Examples of beta decay in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

If neutrinoless double beta decay can be measured, the strength of the decay would be proportional to the lightest neutrino mass. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, "Mysterious Neutrinos Get New Mass Estimate," 26 Aug. 2019 For instance, a project called the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino (KATRIN) experiment in Germany aims to measure neutrino mass by observing beta decays in which a neutron transforms into a proton by releasing a neutrino and an electron. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, "Mysterious Neutrinos Get New Mass Estimate," 26 Aug. 2019 Previous searches for neutrino-less double beta decay had been fouled by uncontrolled background noise. Quanta Magazine, "Search Escalates for Key to Why Matter Exists," 15 Oct. 2013 These particles might have a special property that would give rise to neutrino-less double beta decay. Quanta Magazine, "Search Escalates for Key to Why Matter Exists," 15 Oct. 2013 One type of radioactivity, called beta decay, releases either a positron and a neutrino or an electron and an antineutrino. Jesse Emspak, Scientific American, "Detection of Ghostly Particles Could Unmask Illicit Nuclear Weapons," 1 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beta decay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of beta decay

1931, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

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The first known use of beta decay was in 1931

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