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Physicists See Green, Discover Atom's Nucleus Emits Visible Light

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Atoms routinely emit light when electrons surrounding the nucleus jump to a lower energy level. Energy levels in the nucleus also vary, sometimes by as much as thousands or millions of electron volts. When an excited nucleus relaxes, it usually emits invisible gamma radiation. Physicists George Irwin of Idaho State University in Pocatello and Kinney Kim of North Carolina Central University in Durham reported in the August 11 Physical Review Letters that they had discovered an element that was the exception to the rule. When Irwin and Kim excited Thorium-229 they found the nucleus' excited...Read full article

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