Encyclopedia Article


In physics, radioactivity refers to the spontaneous emission of electromagnetic energy and subatomic particles in certain substances. Radioactive release of energy happens when an unstable atomic nucleus transforms (decays) into a more stable configuration. This process can occur naturally in some types of matter, or can be induced artificially. Handling radioactive matter requires caution, as electromagnetic energy can potentially cause damaging mutations when it comes into contact with living cells.

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"5-gallon containers hold radioactive source material used during equipment testing onboard USNS Seay, March 17, 2004" by US Navy is licensed under Public Domain.

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