# How does beta decay differ from gamma decay?

May 30, 2014

Beta decay is the decay of a neutron into a proton followed by the emission of an electron (which we call a beta particle). This results in the atomic number of the decaying atom to increase by 1 - so if Cerium were to decay by beta decay it would turn into Praseodynium because 58 (Cerium's atomic number) + 1 = 59 (Praseodynium's atomic number)

Gamma radiation takes the form of electromagnetic waves and no mass is lost or gained.