Physics - Two protons at a time
Researchers at the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility recently chalked up a physics "first": the simultaneous emission of two protons from an atom's decaying nucleus. The finding, based on preliminary experiments with the Holifield Facility's unique fluorine-17 beam, also represents a new type of radioactivity. The discovery could help physicists better understand the strong nuclear forces that hold protons and neutrons together-a force that overcomes the Coulomb force, which drives the like-charged protons apart, similar to the like poles on two magnets.
October 01, 2000