Radioactivity - telling you how many objects there are at a...

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Radioactivity Making a precise prediction of when an individual nucleus will decay is not possible; however, radioactive decay is governed by statistics, so it is very easy to predict the decay pattern of a large number of radioactive nuclei. The rate at which nuclei decay is proportional to N, the number of nuclei there are: Whenever the rate at which something occurs is proportional to the number of objects, the number of objects will follow an exponential decay. In other words, the equation
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Unformatted text preview: telling you how many objects there are at a particular time looks like this: The decay constant is closely related to the half-life, which is the time it takes for half of the material to decay. Using the radioactive decay equation, it's easy to show that the half-life and the decay constant are related by: The activity of a sample of radioactive material (i.e., a bunch of unstable nuclei) is measured in disintegrations per second, the SI unit for this being the becquerel....
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