Nuclear Decay

Experiment Guide
1.  Pre Lab
2.  Counting Statistics
Related Material
1.  Melissinos (2003) Ch 8.3.1 - 8.3.4
2.  Poisson Statistics
3.  GM Tube
4.  muon decay
5.  Radiation Health Effects
Useful Links
1.  Nobel Prize
2.  Chart of Nuclides
3.  Nuclear Landscape









In this lab you will design an experiment to detect radiation (think about how you will do this before coming to class!), you will learn how a GM tube works, and you will apply your new skills in data analysis and statistics to measurements of nuclear decay lifetimes.  PRELAB: Be sure to read the relevant pages in Melissinos and all pages of the experiment guide BEFORE beginning this lab. Answer the questions in the guide which precede the data acquisition section, in your lab book. You will not have time to review background material once the lab starts.  

Do not eat or drink while working with radioactive sources. The most hazardous situation is when radioactive material is ingested. Handle the sources carefully. Several of the sources have a thin window that allow the radiation to exit the enclosure. The windows are fragile and should not be touched. Minimize your exposure to radiation by taking advantage of shielding, distance, and time.


NEVER remove a source from the laboratory!