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Statistical probablity is the only thing we can know exactly.Often students get bogged down in the fact that they don't "understand" how and why radioactive elements decay and miss the whole point of this exercise.It is therefore said to be 'fissile' and we use the expression 'nuclear fission'.Meanwhile, like all radioactive isotopes, they decay.There is no going back – the process is irreversible. When we pour our popcorn kernels into a popcorn popper, the is no way to know which will pop first.And once that first kernel pops, it will never be a kernel again..is forever changed! ) Teaching example using popcorn to teach radioactive decay "A variety of a chemical element (strictly, of one particular element) which is distinguished from the other varieties of the element by a different mass number but shares the same atomic number and chemical properties (and so occupies the same position in the periodic table)." That definition may not mean anything to them. Curie · Skłodowska-Curie · Davisson · Fermi · Hahn · Jensen · Lawrence · Mayer · Meitner · Oliphant · Oppenheimer · Proca · Purcell · Rabi · Rutherford · Soddy · Strassmann · Szilárd · Teller · Thomson · Walton · Wigner Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay or radioactivity) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy (in terms of mass in its rest frame) by emitting radiation, such as an alpha particle, beta particle with neutrino or only a neutrino in the case of electron capture, gamma ray, or electron in the case of internal conversion.If there are multiple particles produced during a single decay, as in beta decay, their relative angular distribution, or spin directions may not be isotropic.
A material containing such unstable nuclei is considered radioactive.
U-238 decays very slowly, its half-life being about the same as the age of the Earth (4500 million years).
This means that it is barely radioactive, less so than many other isotopes in rocks and sand.
If they can begin to comprehend that it is random and spontaneous, they end up feeling less nervous about the whole thing.
Radioactive decay involves the spontaneous transformation of one element into another.