# Physics question

This isn’t on the British curriculum for GCSE but:
In Radiation when an atom emits beta radiation, an extra proton is created, as well as an electron, but the electron shoots out and the atom produced is shown as having neutral charge. Why is this? Is there an extra electron, if so where from, or is it binding energy?

Ahhh, yes why do you ask such an easy question.

If you’re not going to be helpful, there’s really no reason for you to even post anything. Please either help the man or don’t respond with a useless comment.

Anyway, I was in the process of explaining it, but figured you’d be better off if I just linked you to the Wiki entry for <a HREf=“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_decay”>Beta Decay</a>.

You’re indeed referring to <i>beta decay</i>, which is essentially a neutron “breaking down” into a proton and an electron, or a proton into a neutron and a positron. In the first case, the proton should be depicted as having a 1+ charge. In the latter, however, the neutron would have no charge, which is probably what your case refers to. Normally beta decay refers to the neutron->proton+electron process, though, so I’m wondering if it’s just a typo in the book, because if the resulting nucleon in the atom is neutral, then a proton->neutron+positron process must have occured, which doesn’t create any extra protons. (actually, technically, none of them create anything, since the atom actually <i>loses</i> mass, but for simplicity’s sake I’ll say “proton creation”)

The thing is that the atom doesn’t have a neutral charge, not really. It is an ion, an atom with a charge, if you didn’t know. The atom itself is trying to go from an unstable element, to a stable one. The only way to do that is to emit radiation, of the Alpha and Beta variety. So the atom is constanly changing, trying to becoming stable.

But since I don’t remember GCSE going into anything like that much detail, you don’t need to know that. Which would be why what you got yur info from is saying the atom is neutral.