[ RadSafe ] The strange case of solar flares and radioactive elements
rhelbig at sfo.com
Mon May 2 17:56:24 CDT 2011
This interesting report popped up on the Geiger Counter enthusiasts list?
Does anyone know if there has been any other research into this hypothesis
that decay rates are affected by solar flares?
The article begins as follows
The strange case of solar flares and radioactive elements
When researchers found an unusual linkage between solar flares and the inner
life of radioactive elements on Earth, it touched off a scientific detective
investigation that could end up protecting the lives of space-walking
astronauts and maybe rewriting some of the assumptions of physics.
BY DAN STOBER
It's a mystery that presented itself unexpectedly: The radioactive decay of
some elements sitting quietly in laboratories on Earth seemed to be
influenced by activities inside the sun, 93 million miles away.
Is this possible?
Researchers from Stanford and Purdue University believe it is. But their
explanation of how it happens opens the door to yet another mystery.
There is even an outside chance that this unexpected effect is brought about
by a previously unknown particle emitted by the sun. "That would be truly
remarkable," said Peter Sturrock, Stanford professor emeritus of applied
physics and an expert on the inner workings of the sun.
The story begins, in a sense, in classrooms around the world, where students
are taught that the rate of decay of a specific radioactive material is a
constant. This concept is relied upon, for example, when anthropologists use
carbon-14 to date ancient artifacts and when doctors determine the proper
dose of radioactivity to treat a cancer patient.
More information about the RadSafe