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measurement uncertainty in mind when deciding how much time is "enough" to allow comparisons among count rates under different conditions. Since we live in a “sea” of radiation, you need to determine how that effects your measurements. Remove all radioactive sources from the vicinity of your detector. Record the count rate from the detector for a significant amount of time. You will need to subtract the count rate due to this background radiation from your future measurements. Measure the background rate, and estimate the uncertainty in your measurement. 192
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