beta decay


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 Over multiple experiments, Pauli’s contemporaries had noticed an accounting error when observing beta decay, a process by which certain radioactive atoms break down. Joanna Thompson, Scientific American, 15 June 2022 Fermi’s model of beta decay took a vague suggestion by Wolfgang Pauli and turned it into a rigorous mathematical theory, and his work in statistical physics is critical to modern condensed matter physics. Chad Orzel, Forbes, 25 June 2021 The basic structure of beta decay is a neutron decays into a proton, electron, and neutrino. Don Lincoln, Forbes, 18 May 2021 For instance, to ensure that a neutrino emitted from beta decay would interact in a detector made of, for example, solid lead, the detector would need to be many light years thick. Don Lincoln, Forbes, 18 May 2021 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, 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, 26 Aug. 2019 Previous searches for neutrino-less double beta decay had been fouled by uncontrolled background noise. Quanta Magazine, 15 Oct. 2013 These particles might have a special property that would give rise to neutrino-less double beta decay. Quanta Magazine, 15 Oct. 2013 See More

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.

First Known Use of beta decay

1931, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for beta decay

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The first known use of beta decay was in 1931

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Dictionary Entries Near beta decay

Beta Cygni

beta decay


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Statistics for beta decay

Last Updated

18 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Beta decay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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