Becquerel

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The becquerel (symbol Bq) is the SI derived unit of radioactivity, defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second. It is therefore equivalent to s-1. The older unit of radioactivity was the curie (Ci), defined as 3.7×1010 becquerels or 37 GBq. The becquerel is named for Henri Becquerel, who shared a Nobel Prize with Pierre and Marie Curie for their work in discovering radioactivity.


In a fixed mass of radioactive material, the number of becquerels changes with time. Sometimes, amounts of radioactive material are given after adjustment for some period of time. For example, one might quote a ten-day adjusted figure, that is, the amount of radioactivity that will still be present after ten days. This de-emphasizes short-lived isotopes.

SI uses the becquerel rather than the second for the unit of activity measure to avoid dangerous mistakes: Becquerels are proportional to more active, and thus more dangerous sources of radiation, while seconds are inversely proportional.

[edit] Definition

1 Bq = 1 s–1

[edit] SI multiples

Multiple Name Symbol Multiple Name Symbol
100 becquerel Bq      
101 decabecquerel daBq 10–1 decibecquerel dBq
102 hectobecquerel hBq 10–2 centibecquerel cBq
103 kilobecquerel kBq 10–3 millibecquerel mBq
106 megabecquerel MBq 10–6 microbecquerel µBq
109 gigabecquerel GBq 10–9 nanobecquerel nBq
1012 terabecquerel TBq 10–12 picobecquerel pBq
1015 petabecquerel PBq 10–15 femtobecquerel fBq
1018 exabecquerel EBq 10–18 attobecquerel aBq
1021 zettabecquerel ZBq 10–21 zeptobecquerel zBq
1024 yottabecquerel YBq 10–24 yoctobecquerel yBq

This SI unit is named after Henri Becquerel. As for all SI units whose names are derived from the proper name of a person, the first letter of its symbol is uppercase (Bq). But when an SI unit is spelled out, it should always be written in lowercase (becquerel), unless it begins a sentence or is the name "degree Celsius".
— Based on The International System of Units, section 5.2.

[edit] External links

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Becquerel

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