Mnemonic for the beta decays and electron capture

In our paper [1:] we anticipate a unified decay equation. It describes all three conventional decays: β- neutron decay, β+ proton decay, and electron capture (EC). These are the decays of the individual proton or neutron.

Here is a handy Mnemonic for remembering all these decays, based on this equation: pie with icing equals nuts with egg below and a dash of vinegar

Pproton + 2y + iz(energy) <=> nneutron + eantielectron or positron + Vneutrino
pie with icing equals nuts with egg below and a dash of vinegar


Then rearrange this to suit. Remember to invert the matter-antimatter species when you move a particle across the equality (species transfer rule). Note that we use underscore to show antimatter species, and this is the same as the overbar with which you may be more familiar. (We don’t use overbar because it is a confounded symbol  used in other contexts such as h-bar. Underscore is a fresh and clearer way to designate antimatter species. It is also a visual reminder that this mechanics needs to be understood from within the NLHV framework of the Cordus theory, i.e. we are not talking about the usual zero-dimensional point particles of quantum mechanics here. Underscore is also easier to print and therefore use.)

The equation as written is focussed on the proton decay, which is β+. It is called beta plus because it gives a positive charge output in the form of the e hence ‘+’.

β+ proton decay: p + 2y => n + e + v

For electron capture just move the e across the equality to the p side and change it to plain ‘e’ instead.

Electron capture (EC): p + e => n + v

For neutron decay, move both the e and v across the equality, changing them to e and v. It is called beta ‘minus’ because the output is the negatively charged electron.

β- neutron decay: n => p + e + v


Remember that electric charge and matter-antimatter species hand are not the same thing. This is an easy area in which to get confused. Electric charge (+/-) refers to the direction in which the discrete forces of the electric field travel, and may be outwards or inwards from the particle. The matter-antimatter species hand (m/m) refers to the handedness of the discrete field, which in the Cordus theory corresponds to the energisation sequence of the field (somewhat like the firing order of a three-cylinder internal combustion engine) which also has two variables.

The mnemonic works for all three conventional decays providing you remember the species transfer rule, but I’m not convinced of the soundness of the dietary advice!


  1. Pons, D. J., Pons, A. D., and Pons, A. J., Asymmetrical neutrino induced decay of nucleons Applied Physics Research, 2015. 7(2): p. 1-13. DOI: or



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