Understanding half

Understanding half - M up. Remove all the M down...

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Please note that M&M's are perfectly safe, and are not radioactive. M&M's can be used as a model of a sample of radioactive nuclei, however, because when they lie on a flat surface they can be in one of just two states - they can lie with the M up or with the M down. Let one of those states (M down, say) represent decayed nuclei. step 2 - throw them onto a flat surface, and count the number of M&M's with
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Unformatted text preview: M up. Remove all the M down M&M's from the sample. step 3 - repeat step 2 until you have no M&M's left. Every time you throw the M&M's, you've gone through one more half-life. Here's the data from one trial: The above is just a single trial; you should try it yourself to see what you get. This trial shows something interesting, however. When you have a large number of particles, they follow the predicted behavior very closely. When you only have a small number, the inherent randomness of the decay process is a little more obvious....
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