Wave Mechanics and Radioactive Disintegration

  title={Wave Mechanics and Radioactive Disintegration},
  author={Ronald Wilfred Gurney and Edward Uhler Condon},
AFTER the exponential law in radioactive decay had been discovered in 1902, it soon became clear that the time of disintegration of an atom was independent of the previous history of the atom and depended solely on chance. Since a nuclear particle must be held in the nucleus by an attractive field, we must, in order to explain its ejection, arrange for a spontaneous change from an attractive to a repulsive field. It has hitherto been necessary to postulate some special arbitrary ‘instability… 

On the theory of atomic ionization following alpha decay

The α-decay of a nucleus may cause atomic ionization. One of the basic assumptions of Migdal's original paper, which is the prototype of all later calculations for this process, is to treat the


  • A. Pais
  • Materials Science, Physics
  • 1977
Since the discovery of radioactivity predates the birth of quantum mechanics by nearly thirty years, it was inevitable that the most fundamental aspect of radioactive processes, its spontaneity, was

From Anomaly to Explanation: The Continuous Beta Spectrum, 1929–1934

The year 1932 was a turning point in the history of nuclear physics. The neutron, the positron and the deuteron were discovered, and the first nuclear disintegrations with artificially accelerated

Classical behaviour in quantum systems: the case of straight tracks in a cloud chamber

The aim of this paper is to discuss in a pedagogical way the problem of the emergence of classical behaviour in certain physical systems which, in principle, are correctly described by quantum

A Time-Dependent Perturbative Analysis for a Quantum Particle in a Cloud Chamber

We consider a simple model of a cloud chamber consisting of a test particle (the α-particle) interacting with two quantum systems (the atoms of the vapor) initially confined around $${a_1, a_2 \in

Quantum mechanical tunnelling in biological systems

  • D. Devault
  • Physics
    Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics
  • 1980
This work is concerned with the tunnelling of heavy particles: nuclei, atoms, molecules, which have wavelengths as large or larger than atoms at energies found in the valence shells of molecules.