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Chemistry Music Video 8: Natural Decay

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Published on Aug 29, 2009

This song describes what happens to an unstable nucleus as it emits alpha, beta, positron and gamma radiation. All music and lyrics copyright 2007 by Mark Rosengarten. All rights reserved.

Lyrics:

The nucleus of an atom
Is filled with lots of stuff
There's protons and there's neutrons
That's really quite enough
But sometimes an atom
Has too much of one of these
And lets loose decay particles
Kind of like a sneeze

It's decay!
Natural decay!
HOORAY!

It's decay!
Natural decay!
HOORAY!

Some nuclei spew out
What looks like helium
It's an alpha particle
Made by uranium
It's nuclear notation
It is 4-2 He
And it is really dangerous
Causes burns to you and me

It's decay!
Alpha decay!
HOORAY!

It's decay!
Natural decay!
HOORAY!

Nuclei like c-14
Give a little bitty sneeze
It's a beta particle
An electron, if you please
It can travel fast
But it don't take much to stop
Turns a neutron to a proton
Watch the Geiger counters hop

It's decay!
Beta decay!
HOORAY!

It's decay!
Natural decay!
HOORAY!




Isotopes of potassium
Emit a positron
It's called beta-positive
Don't know whose side it's on
A proton becomes a neutron
The mass remains the same
And that is how the positron
Plays the nuclear game

It's decay!
Positron decay!
HOORAY!


It's decay!
Natural decay!
HOORAY!

When a nucleus
Emits any of these
It can also give off gamma
When instability is eased
It goes the speed of light
('cause that's really what it is)
And it has no mass or charge
Only lead can stop its whiz!

It's decay!
Gives off gamma rays!
HOORAY!

It's decay!
Natural decay!
HOORAY!

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