beta particle


: a high-speed electron
specifically : one emitted by a radioactive nucleus in beta decay

Examples of beta particle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The most common forms occur when an unstable nucleus spits out an alpha particle, consisting of two neutrons and two protons, a beta particle consisting of an energetic positron or electron, or a gamma ray, consisting of a high energy photon. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 27 Feb. 2024 Alpha particles are just the nuclei of helium atoms, beta particles are electrons, and gamma rays are a type of very high-frequency electromagnetic radiation. Rhett Allain, WIRED, 23 Feb. 2024 Instead, radioactive elements can emit gamma rays, alongside alpha and beta particles. WIRED, 23 Sep. 2023 The mass of an alpha particle is more than 7,000 times larger than that of a beta particle. WIRED, 8 Sep. 2023 And the radiation comes in the form of beta particles. Jonathan Saltzman,, 3 May 2023 In contrast, Convergent plans to use a protein in the immune system called antibodies to deliver radiation-emitting particles, and the radiation comes in the form of alpha particles, which Kantoff says are 1,000 times more powerful than beta particles. Jonathan Saltzman,, 3 May 2023 The scientific reality is tritium emits an incredibly weak beta particle that is easily stopped by our dead skin layer. James Conca, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2021 The fourth decay can occur by two different routes, with each path releasing one alpha particle and one beta particle before reaching lead-209. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, 1 Feb. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'beta particle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1904, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of beta particle was in 1904

Dictionary Entries Near beta particle

Cite this Entry

“Beta particle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

beta particle

: an electron or positron that is thrown out from the nucleus of an atom during radioactive decay
also : a high-speed electron or positron

Medical Definition

beta particle

: a high-speed electron
specifically : one emitted during radioactive decay of an atomic nucleus

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