A simple, one sentence riddle which I'm confident you'll know when you have the correct answer.

First I'm the parent, but I lose He and some energy, then become the daughter.

What does this riddle depict?


The father-daughter titles are important.

Neither parent, nor daughter are compounds.


2 Answers 2


The question suggests

Radioactive decay: The "parent" nucleus, after decay, has changed into a "daughter" nucleus. Losing energy is part of the process. However, losing a "H" (i.e. proton) isn't one of the forms of radioactive decay. Losing an electron, so a neutron essentially becomes a proton, is the closest. Losing two protons and two neutrons is another, or a gamma particle could be emitted. In no case, though, is a solitary proton "lost". Perhaps if the riddle said "but I lose an e and some energy" or "lose a He and some energy" this would fit better.


Is it



Water is H2O, and if it loses a Hydrogen atom (H) it becomes HO - a hydroxide.

I though of this because

The puzzle is marked with the and tags.

Alternatively it could be

H2 and becomes H

  • $\begingroup$ Great answer and nice try, but it's not what i'm looking for. You're on the right track though! $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2016 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ @TommyWoldt is it simply H2, which goes to H? (It could really be any compound with hydrogen in it). Or is it not related to hydrogen at all? $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2016 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil All I'll say for now is that your comment and answer are incorrect. $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2016 at 19:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.