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Hitesh Nair
St. Thomas Residential School, Thiruvananthapuram
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Which one is unstable amongst proton, neutron, electron and alpha-particle? Can it be concluded from beta decay that electrons exist within the nucleus? No. The beta particle, although an electron, is actually created at the instance of beta decay and is ejected at once. In beta decay, a neutron splits to form a proton and an electron (beta particle). How is a cathode ray beam affected while passing through i) a magnetic field ii) an electric field? 1. The beam will be deflected in a direction normal to both the direction of the magnetic field and the direction of its motion, as indicated by Fleming s left hand rule. This deflection is by Lorentz s force. The path followed by it shall be circular. 2. A cathode ray beam while passing through an electric field is deflected towards the positive plate due to force of attraction. The path followed by it shall be parabolic. Why are gamma rays emitted only in nuclear processes and not in orbital electron transitions? The energy of gamma rays is of the order of MeV. Energies of this magnitude occur in nuclear processes only occur in nuclear changes, not in orbital electron transmissions. How is the radioactivity of an element affected when it forms chemical compounds? The radioactivity is not affected in any way. Chemical bonds involve only orbital electrons, whereas radioactivity is a nuclear phenomenon. When a nucleus undergoes alpha decay, is the product atom electrically neutral? What about in beta decay? No, in alpha decay, the two protons from the nucleus are lost. Thus the atom is left with two extra electrons. It therefore, has a double negative charge. In beta decay, the atom is left with a net positive charge. State the kind of nuclear reaction taking place in a nucleus during the emission of a -particle. During emission of a -particle from the nucleus, a neutron changes into a proton by emitting a beta particle and anti-neutrino as follows: 0n1 1p1 + -1e0 + v So, in the nucleus, the number of the neutrons decreases by 1 with the emission of a -particle and the number of proton increases by one. The sum of protons and neutrons, i.e., atomic mass remains the same but the atomic number increases by one. Is it possible for hydrogen atom isotope to emit alpha particle? Explain. No. This is because alpha particle consists of two protons and two neutrons. However, none of the isotopes of hydrogen has the requisite number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus to emit an alpha particle. Thus they cannot emit alpha particles.

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