Note: This item is one example of a special case - Known Unknowables
Radioactive decay is the process by which the nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy by emitting 'radiation' - which can be in the form of alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays or conversion electrons.
The emissions arein the sense that the exact moment that an alpha particle (for example) is emitted cannot be predicted. Neither can its direction of travel. This randomness is an integral part of current quantum theory, and is consistently confirmed by observations. That's to say that no-one can (or ever will be able to) predict when the next decay event will occur.
According to the current model of quantum physics, it's completely and genuinely random.“
Source : Marcus du Sautoy, What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge
Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for old ones, are always welcome.
If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !
Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.
( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)
You are currently viewing an auto-translated version of Wikenigma
Please be aware that no automatic translation engines are 100% accurate, and so the auto-translated content will very probably feature errors and omissions.
Nevertheless, Wikenigma hopes that the translated content will help to attract a wider global audience.