Thursday, May 5, 2011

9:00 update: Nuclear transexualism

That caught my attention! The idea that protons can turn into neutrons and vice versa, well, it kinda grabs your attention. Mine anyway. Boys will be girls and girls will be boys. Well now! I'm a bit old school, I'd like boys to be boys and girls to be girls. But protons and neutrons can change identities. Oh, well. What's the world coming to?

But I digress. Let's continue with this page on Wikipedia, the subject of beta decay, described somewhat above. Hmm. If you read this stuff, you are most likely to come away from it quite confused.

An down quark can become a up quark. My previous discussion didn't go into what up and down meant. I feel a joke coming on, but forget it. But we do get an emission of a boson out of the deal. Ok. Well, there are W bosons and Z bosons. But wait! There are X and Y bosons too. Don't want to leave anybody out. Actually, these are hypothetical bosons. These hypothetical bosons are important in the Grand Unification Theory.

Now here's the interesting part. The significance of changing a proton to a neutron and vice versa means that we transmute one chemical element into another.

If this happens, it can be a big deal, don't you think? It doesn't change the number of nucleons, but it does change its charge. Here's an interesting discussion of beta decay stable nuclides.  Here's a portion of that chart

All joking aside, this is no laughing matter. Really.

I'd like to go back a review a post made on a blog not long ago.  Compare notes, if you will.

Rather than go into Al Fin's post, I will observe that it may be theoretically possible to get from Ni58 to Cu63 through beta decay.  But there's no discussion anywhere that I can see that says that this is possible.  I only infer from the chart above that it is possible.  There is no discussion about energy release that I see.  The transmutation yields protons from neutrons while giving off electrons and electron neutrinos. Electron neutrinos are often simplified to just plain old neutrinos.

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