RADIOACTIVITY Is the phenomenon of the spontaneous disintegration of unstable atomic nuclei to form more stable atomic nuclei with the emision of an alpha particle, beta particle and/or gamma ray.
Types and Nature of Radiations.

1. There are three major types of ionising radiations.A. Alpha particle B. Beta particle C. Gamma ray
Note: while alpha and beta particles are very tiny particles , gamma rays are very tiny particles, gamma rays are just a form of electromagnectic radiations.
❏ ALPHA PARTICLES: an alpha particle is a nucleus of 2 protons and 2 neutrons. So it is actually a Helium cation{ Helium atom minus 2 electrons}. The range of an alpha particle is only a few centimetres.[ 1-10cm]. It is a positively charged particle.
❏ BETA PARTICLES: It is a negatively charged particle. It is very light with a mass of only 1/1730 that of an alpha particle. A beta particle has a much longer range through matter than an alpha particle.
❏ GAMMA RAY: A gamma ray is a form of electromagnectic ray. It has zero mass and no charge. It has the longest range through matter.


Nuclear Fission.
This is a radioactive decay process in which a heavy nucleus spontaneously disintegrates[ breaks up] into 2 lighter nuclei and several neutrons, with the release of alarge amount of energy.
Nuclear Fusion.
This is the combination of small atomic nuclei into larger ones with the release of a large amount of energy.
Applications of Radioactivity.

1. Cancer theraphy: radiation can destroy bad or harmful cells. Radations can induce cancer in living organisms, controlled low doses of some forms of radiation[ gamma rays in particular] kill cancerous cells and are thus used in the treatment of cancer.

2. Radioactive tracers: radioactive atoms incorporated into tissues can be used to trace the movement of stable elements within the tissue. E.g use of phosphorus-32 for determining the uptake of phosphorus in plants and use of iodine-131 in detecting abnormalities in the human thyroid gland.

3. Carbon-14 dating: this is actually a form of radioactive tracing discussed above However, in this case, use is made of natural radioactive carbon-14, rather than artificially produced radionuclides like phosphorus-32 and iodine-131.

Note the major points in today’s lecture.

1. Definition of radioactivity.

2.Alpha and beta are tiny particles while gamma is a ray.

3.Radioactivity have both merits and demerits that is…it has both uses and harmful effects(study them).

4.Difference between nuclear fission and nuclear fussion(study them).

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