Velocity of Alpha Particle - Nuclear Decay Calculator

In Physics, particularly in Quantum Mechanics and Nuclear Physics, the velocity of an alpha particle is a critical concept. Alpha particles, helium nuclei with two protons and two neutrons, are often emitted in alpha decay processes. Understanding their velocity can provide valuable insights into the nature of nuclear interactions and forces. In this tutorial, we'll explore the calculation of the velocity of an alpha particle, based on a constant, range, and distance from the source.

Velocity of Alpha Particle using Geiger Law in Radioactive Decay Calculator
Velocity of Alpha Particle - Nuclear Decay Calculator Results
Velocity of Alpha Particle = ρ

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Example Formula

To calculate the velocity of an alpha particle, we would use the kinematic formula:

v = √(2E/m)


  1. v is the velocity of the alpha particle.
  2. E is the energy of the alpha particle, which can be estimated from the range and the distance from the source.
  3. m is the mass of the alpha particle.

Who wrote/refined the formula

The formula for velocity has been a fundamental part of physics for centuries. The specific application to alpha particles and the measurement of their energy was an essential aspect of early nuclear physics, developed during the 20th century. Prominent scientists like Ernest Rutherford contributed significantly to our understanding of alpha particles.

Real Life Application

Calculating the velocity of alpha particles is particularly important in nuclear physics and chemistry. It helps understand radioactive materials and the energy they emit during alpha decay. This knowledge is crucial in fields such as nuclear energy, medical applications like cancer therapy, and radiometric dating in geology and archaeology.

Key individuals in the discipline

Ernest Rutherford, a New Zealand physicist often referred to as the father of nuclear physics, is one of the most notable figures in the discipline. His gold foil experiment, performed in 1909, led to the discovery of the atomic nucleus and the understanding of alpha particles' behavior.

Interesting Facts

  1. Despite their energy, alpha particles can be stopped by a sheet of paper or the outermost layer of human skin due to their charge and mass.
  2. The understanding of alpha particle emissions has allowed for technologies like smoke detectors, where a small amount of americium-241 emits alpha particles to ionize air and detect smoke particles.
  3. The study of alpha particles and their velocity has been pivotal in establishing the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics and nuclear physics.


Understanding the velocity of alpha particles plays a key role in various physics areas, particularly quantum mechanics and nuclear physics. The calculations associated with these particles have led to breakthroughs in numerous scientific and technological fields, affecting everyday life from medical treatments to safety devices like smoke detectors.

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