Hardy, John Cyclotron Institute, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
- Interactions with matter
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The name first applied in 1897 by Ernest Rutherford to one of the forms of radiation emitted by radioactive nuclei. Beta particles can occur with either negative or positive charge (denoted β− or β+ and are now known to be either electrons or positrons, respectively. Electrons and positrons are now referred to as beta particles only if they are known to have originated from nuclear beta decay. Their observed kinetic energies range from zero up to about 5 MeV in the case of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes, but can reach values well over 10 MeV for some artificially produced isotopes. See also: Alpha particles; Electron; Gamma rays; Positron; Radioactivity
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