Radioactivity is the manifestation of an unstable (radioactive) nucleus going through a single or a series of internal readjustments (decays), more or less complex, leading eventually to a more stable configuration. The probability λ of this process occurring within a unit interval of time is characteristic of the nuclear species and it is independent of the length of time during which the radioactive nucleus has been in existence. The value of λ (decay constant) has been found to be independent of the chemical and physical status of the atom; this observation has been attributed to the fact that the energies involved in the latter, though sufficient to affect the extranuclear electrons, are usually too small to influence the course of events within the nucleus1.


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