The lead nucleus has turned into a mercury nucleus. What particle was thrown out by the lead nucleus? Write the equation for this radioactive decay
For the transformation of a lead nucleus into a mercury nucleus, the charge of an atomic nucleus must decrease by two units. This is possible when the initial nucleus emits two protons, or two positrons, or one alpha particle. Since, according to the conditions of the problem, the emitted particle is one, the correct answer is an alpha particle (2He4).
For illustration, consider the alpha decay of the radioactive isotope of lead 82Pb212:
82Pb212 = 80Hg208 + 2He4
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