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The big difference is that the other force carriers; photons, gluons, and (if they exist) gravitons, leave the involved particles alone (other than energy and momentum). While the Weak force can mediate interactions between particles without changing them (this is a result that helped point the way to the discovery of the “electroweak force”), it can also carry stuff with it, like charge.
By taking charge from one thing, and giving it to another, it’s changed the particles involved.
: I keep reading on the internet about how it’s the electromagnetic force which causes positive and negative charges and their reactions, it is gravity which pulls all matter together, and it’s the strong nuclear force which pulls quarks together. I have read that it “governs” radioactivity, but what does that mean? Physicist: The short answer is that the W and Z bosons (the Weak interaction carriers) really don’t “fit” anywhere else.
And, although it’s not the most important thing it does, the W and Z bosons do carry momentum, which is all that a force really has to do at the end of the day.
If we know the number of radioactive parent atoms present when a rock formed and the number present now, we can calculate the age of the rock using the decay constant.
Several other processes result in the accumulation of distinct yearly layers that can be used for dating.
For example, layers form within glaciers because there tends to be less snowfall in the summertime, allowing a dark layer of dust to accumulate on top of the winter snow (Figure 11.23).
As radioactive Parent atoms decay to stable daughter atoms (as uranium decays to lead) each disintegration results in one more atom of the daughter than was initially present and one less atom of the parent.
The probability of a parent atom decaying in a fixed period of time is always the same for all atoms of that type regardless of temperature, pressure, or chemical conditions. The time required for one-half of any original number of parent atoms to decay is the half-life, which is related to the decay constant by a simple mathematical formula.
Gluons can also cause the involved particles to change, specifically switching protons and neutrons.