So that neutron basically emits an electron (the beta particle) and this essentially turns it into a proton.
When we talk about an alpha particle, we use the first letter of the Greek alphabet, which is here.
So let's zoom into a nucleus and take a look at this alpha decay process.
We know that elements can exist as isotopes, which means that their atomic nuclei contain the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons.
Specially defined isotopes, called nuclides, can be unstable and therefore undergo radioactive decay.
If we have a parent nucleus where the neutron-to-proton ratio is too great, then that parent might be feeling unstable about its circumstance and want to move to a more stable state through beta decay.
Beta decay is a type of radioactive decay where a beta particle is emitted.
Inside this nucleus, we see the protons and neutrons.
This parent nucleus is feeling somewhat unstable because it is too big or simply has too many protons, and it wants to get to a more stable state, so it's going to take two protons and two neutrons and kick them out of the nucleus as we see here.
Because these rates do not change and because the radiation that rocks give off can be measured, it became possible to calculate the time the rock was formed or, in other words, the rock's birth date - give or take a few thousand years or so.
Radiometric dating is sometimes referred to as radioactive dating.
When they do, they release energy and get transformed into different nuclides.