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Gizmo Warm-up Like an unpopped kernel in the microwave, a radioactive atom can change at any time. Radioactive atoms change by emitting radiation in the form of tiny particles and/or energy. This process, called decay, causes the radioactive atom to change into a stable daughter atom. The Half-life Gizmo allows you to observe and measure the decay of a radioactive substance. Be sure the sound is turned on and click Play


A fission reaction takes place. Explanation: When a radioactive atom undergoes nuclear decay, it triggers a spontaneous fission reaction. This reaction causes the nucleus to undergo a transformation that results in a change in the number of protons. The process also produces gamma photons and releases an immense amount of energy. Once the radiation has stopped, a stable element is produced and the released energy is dispersed into the surrounding environment.