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There is no reason to expect that the rate of decay of a radioactive material is largely constant, As early as of 1673, John Ray, an English naturalist, reckoned with alternative that "im the primitive times and soon after the Creation the earth suffered far more concussions and mutations in its superficial part than afterward". Atoms consist of a heavy central core called the nucleus surrounded by clouds of lightweight particles (electrons), called electron shells.The energy locked in the nucleus is enormous, but cannot be released easily. Fw-300 #ya-qn-sort h2 /* Breadcrumb */ #ya-question-breadcrumb #ya-question-breadcrumb i #ya-question-breadcrumb a #bc .ya-q-full-text, .ya-q-text #ya-question-detail h1 html[lang="zh-Hant-TW"] .ya-q-full-text, html[lang="zh-Hant-TW"] .ya-q-text, html[lang="zh-Hant-HK"] .ya-q-full-text, html[lang="zh-Hant-HK"] .ya-q-text html[lang="zh-Hant-TW"] #ya-question-detail h1, html[lang="zh-Hant-HK"] #ya-question-detail h1 #Stencil . Bdend-1g /* Trending Now */ /* Center Rail */ #ya-center-rail .profile-banner-default .ya-ba-title #Stencil . Bgc-lgr #ya-best-answer, #ya-qpage-msg, #ya-question-detail, li.ya-other-answer .tupwrap .comment-text /* Right Rail */ #Stencil . Bxsh-003-prpl #yai-q-answer, #ya-trending, #ya-related-questions h2. Fw-300 .qstn-title #ya-trending-questions-show-more, #ya-related-questions-show-more #ya-trending-questions-more, #ya-related-questions-more /* DMROS */ .
Any incoming negative charge would be deflected by the electron shell and any positive charge that penetrated the electron shells would be deflected by the positive charge of the nucleus itself.
If you had an ensemble of identical particles, the probability of finding a given one of them still as they were - with no decay - after some time is given by the mathematical expression This governs what is known as the "decay rate." The rate is unique to different particles and so to different atomic elements.
This makes different elements useful for different time scales of dating; an element with too short an average lifetime will have too few particles left to reveal much one way or another of potentially longer time scales.
Historically, these are also known as alpha, gamma, and beta decays, respectively.
"Atomic decays" are due to proton or neutron decays: either weakly, incrementing up or down the table of elements; or strongly, often splitting into smaller elements, one of which is often helium.