Standard Article


  1. Walter Loveland

Published Online: 15 OCT 2009

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap378.pub2

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Loveland, W. 2009. Radioactivity. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. 345–374.

Author Information

  1. Oregon State University, Department of Chemistry, Corvallis, OR, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 OCT 2009


A discussion of the most important features of radioactivity and its detection is presented. The questions of what causes radioactivity and which nuclei are radioactive are answered. The equations that describe radioactive decay and dating are presented. A detailed discussion of  α,   β,   and  γ decay is given along with descriptions of rarer modes of decay. The chapter finishes with a discussion of the detection and measurement of radioactivity.


  • nuclide;
  • parity;
  • decay;
  • half-life;
  • dating;
  • tracer