How can I write nuclear equations for beta decay?

1 Answer
May 30, 2014

It's just a case of adding 1 to the atomic number.

Remember that beta decay is the breakdown of a neutron into a proton followed by the emission of an electron (which we call a beta particle)

If, for example, I have an atom like Cerium-144 (Ce) and it decays by beta emission, it would turn into Praseodynium-144 (Pr) because with the creation of a proton comes the increase in atomic number - in this case, the atomic number rises from 58 (Cerium) to 59 (Praseodynium).

Always remember to put + #e^(-)# at the end of the equation.