The nature of the radiation
Teaching Guidance for 14-16
Alpha particles, beta particles and gamma radiation
It is quite common for teachers and students to talk about alpha, beta and gamma radiation. In fact, on first discovery (around 1900), all three were referred to as
rays before their actual identity was established. Now we know that only gamma is a form of electromagnetic radiation, while alpha and beta
radiation consist of streams of fast-moving particles.
The collective term
radiation conceals the differing nature of the
radiations. But as they all have the same effects, that's perhaps not a bad thing at this stage. Later on, in post-16 studies, it might be more appropriate to focus on the differences, when you can explain these more explicitly.