Definitions for gamma ray

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word gamma ray

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

gam′ma ray`(n.)

  1. a highly penetrating photon of high frequency, usu. 1019 Hz or more, emitted by an atomic nucleus.

    Category: Physics

  2. a stream of such photons.

    Category: Physics

Origin of gamma ray:


Princeton's WordNet

  1. gamma radiation, gamma ray(noun)

    electromagnetic radiation emitted during radioactive decay and having an extremely short wavelength


  1. gamma ray(Noun)

    Very high frequency (and therefore very high energy) electromagnetic radiation emitted as a consequence of radioactivity.


  1. Gamma ray

    Gamma radiation, also known as gamma rays, and denoted by the Greek letter γ, refers to electromagnetic radiation of high frequency and therefore high energy per photon. Gamma rays are ionizing radiation, and are thus biologically hazardous. They are classically produced by the decay from high energy states of atomic nuclei, but are also created by other processes. Paul Villard, a French chemist and physicist, discovered gamma radiation in 1900, while studying radiation emitted from radium. Villard's radiation was named "gamma rays" by Ernest Rutherford in 1903. Natural sources of gamma rays on Earth include gamma decay from naturally occurring radioisotopes, and secondary radiation from atmospheric interactions with cosmic ray particles. Rare terrestrial natural sources produce gamma rays that are not of a nuclear origin, such as lightning strikes and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. Gamma rays are produced by a number of astronomical processes in which very high-energy electrons are produced, that in turn cause secondary gamma rays by the mechanisms of bremsstrahlung, inverse Compton scattering and synchrotron radiation. A large fraction of such astronomical gamma rays are screened by Earth's atmosphere and must be detected by spacecraft.19


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