Flashback: Do nuclear decay rates depend on our distance from the sun?

Over the holiday period, the arXivblog is running a selection of the most popular posts from 2008

29 August 2008: Do nuclear decay rates depend on our distance from the sun?

Here’s an interesting conundrum involving nuclear decay rates.

We think that the decay rates of elements are constant regardless of the ambient conditions (except in a few special cases where beta decay can be influenced by powerful electric fields).

So that makes it hard to explain the curious periodic variations in the decay rates of silicon-32 and radium-226 observed by groups at the Brookhaven National Labs in the US and at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesandstalt in Germany in the 1980s.

Read on…

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