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Unformatted text preview: James Montgomery Physics 326 Section 04 October 13, 2011 Lab 3: Distribution Functions Introduction: When measuring certain phenomena, repeated measurements may not give the same values. The decay of a radioactive Cs sample is a perfect example because when it decays, like every radioactive sample, the number of decaying atoms is completely random, but fall within a certain range of counts. By observing the counts of the decaying Cs and calculating the means and standard deviations of various time frames, a good estimate of the actual decay rate can be obtained. This lab attempts to illustrate the method of taking these sets of random data and obtaining usable measurements from the distribution by plotting them in Gaussian or Poisson curves. The mean is defined by: and the standard deviation is defined by: These equations are key to accurately finding the decay rate of the Cs sample as well as understanding how to take random data and make it useful. Experimental Method: This lab only required a few basic instruments to complete. A radioactive Cs sample was measured by a Geiger tube and electronic counter, which fed into the LabPro Interface and then to the computer. The Logger Pro program on the computer needed to be synced with the LabPro interface as well. Firstly, parts A + B illustrate that the radioactive sample should be placed into the Geiger tube so that the electronic counter picked up a decay count of about 100 counts per second to avoid miscounts....
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