Home | Community | Message Board


SoulSpeciosa Kratom
Please support our sponsors.

General Interest >> Science and Technology

Welcome to the Shroomery Message Board! You are experiencing a small sample of what the site has to offer. Please login or register to post messages and view our exclusive members-only content. You'll gain access to additional forums, file attachments, board customizations, encrypted private messages, and much more!

Amazon Shop: Scales

Jump to first unread post. Pages: 1
Offlinecb9fl
Senior ChildMolestationExpert
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Loc: florida
Last seen: 8 years, 2 months
Radioactive decay
    #3782897 - 02/15/05 12:16 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Seuss's post brought up the topic of radioactive decay for producing random numbers.

Here's an excerpt from Howstuffworks

Quote:

If you were looking at an individual americium-241 atom, it would be impossible to predict when it would throw off an alpha particle. However, if you have a large collection of americium atoms, then the rate of decay becomes quite predictable.




How is it possible for a large collection of completely random events to produce a non-random event.

I came to that question by thinking of it like this. If one Americium atom decays completely randomly there is no way to predict when it will decay. Now suppose you have two Americium atoms both decaying completely randomly, would it not still be impossible to determine when either is going to decay? If atoms were added ad infinum would the not all still decay completely randomly? How could you assign a predictable action to events that are truly completely random?


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflineSeussA
Error: divide byzero

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 04/27/01
Posts: 23,480
Loc: Caribbean
Last seen: 9 months, 10 days
Re: Radioactive decay [Re: cb9fl]
    #3782962 - 02/15/05 12:36 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

> How is it possible for a large collection of completely random events to produce a non-random event.

Patterns within randomness equates to chaos theory. The more you start to dig into the nature of randomness the more you start to realize just how complex "random" really becomes.

Even if you have a random source, it is easy to add artifical non-random artifacts by accident. For example, if you have a random sequence generator that produces numbers between 0 and 65535 in a random sequence and you need to simulate the rolling of a six-sided die so you simply divide the random number by six and use the remainder (a number from 0 to 5) as your random number then you will be quite surprised that your random number sequence is no longer random... four of the numbers will occur much more often than the other two.


--------------------
Just another spore in the wind.


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Offlinecb9fl
Senior ChildMolestationExpert
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Loc: florida
Last seen: 8 years, 2 months
Re: Radioactive decay [Re: Seuss]
    #3783003 - 02/15/05 12:49 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

I guess I was looking at random as thus, that the probability of an event occuring would be the same for all lengths of time.

If the decay of an Americium atom was completely random then wouldn't the probability of its decay in 1 second, 1 minute, 1 million years all remain the same. I guess that means there would be no probability. It could happen now, tomorrow, 1 million years from now or never. Is that the true meaning of completely random and does it apply to radioactive decay?


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflineSeussA
Error: divide byzero

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 04/27/01
Posts: 23,480
Loc: Caribbean
Last seen: 9 months, 10 days
Re: Radioactive decay [Re: cb9fl]
    #3783160 - 02/15/05 01:33 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

> If the decay of an Americium atom was completely random then wouldn't the probability of its decay in 1 second, 1 minute, 1 million years all remain the same.

Yes, for the case of the individual atom. However, a population of atoms is different than a single atom. The population, on average, has a decay rate that is predictable. Looking at any single individual in the population, the decay of the individual is completely random.

> I guess that means there would be no probability. It could happen now, tomorrow, 1 million years from now or never.

All correct, except for the "never" part. The atom will decay at some point in time...

> Is that the true meaning of completely random

"Completely random" is a non-scensical statement, though it is often used. Nothign is completely random by itself... for example, a random number does not exist... sequences of random numbers exist, but a single number has no 'randomness' to it.


--------------------
Just another spore in the wind.


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Offlinecb9fl
Senior ChildMolestationExpert
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Loc: florida
Last seen: 8 years, 2 months
Re: Radioactive decay [Re: Seuss]
    #3783232 - 02/15/05 01:59 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

However, a population of atoms is different than a single atom.

Why?


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflinetrendalM
King of Asides
Male User Gallery

Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 20,161
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Last seen: 1 hour, 8 minutes
Re: Radioactive decay [Re: cb9fl]
    #3783317 - 02/15/05 02:26 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Well you can't predict when a SPECIFIC atom will decay...but when you get a large collection of atoms together you can predict when a "random" decay will occur. You still can't point to any single atom and say "this one is about to decay", but using statistics you can look at the whole collection of atoms and say "on average, one atom will decay every x seconds".

It's not that a population of atoms is inherently different than a single atom, just that we can use statistics to describe a collection of atoms, where we cannot do so with single atoms.


--------------------
BTC - 1KqrSHZ1C3NsQP4g3PkHhppBnhdgyXr6sB


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflineZekebomb
sociophagus

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 1,164
Loc: BC province
Last seen: 10 years, 22 days
Re: Radioactive decay [Re: trendal]
    #3787523 - 02/16/05 03:00 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

You still can't point to any single atom and say "this one is about to decay", but using statistics you can look at the whole collection of atoms and say "on average, one atom will decay every x seconds".

yeah, isn't it weird how whether the system is random depends on what scale you choose to look at it on


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Jump to top. Pages: 1

Amazon Shop: Scales

General Interest >> Science and Technology

Similar ThreadsPosterViewsRepliesLast post
* Random ramble about free energy, the energy crisis and the philosophy of it
( 1 2 all )
Ego Death 2,579 20 08/09/07 12:50 AM
by PhanTomCat
* Atom Collisions.... PhanTomCat 3,049 12 08/23/07 10:04 PM
by PhanTomCat
* The Random Scientific Questions Thread....
( 1 2 3 all )
PhanTomCat 4,432 43 02/14/08 07:13 PM
by johnm214
* Quantum computing via true randomness Somaism 804 2 03/31/06 06:17 AM
by Herbus
* A Million Random Digits With 100,000 Normal Deviates Ferris 691 11 11/17/08 07:34 PM
by Ferris
* random sample from large text-file? Krishna 3,619 2 03/05/09 12:59 AM
by Krishna
* Randomly Generated Paper Accepted to Conference ivi 842 8 04/16/05 11:46 AM
by pleco
* my new used laptop randomly shuts itself off wrestler_az 2,332 18 06/05/06 10:45 AM
by BloodNOil

Extra information
You cannot start new topics / You cannot reply to topics
HTML is disabled / BBCode is enabled
Moderator: Lana, trendal, automan
581 topic views. 0 members, 1 guests and 0 web crawlers are browsing this forum.
[ Toggle Favorite | Print Topic | Stats ]
Search this thread:
High Mountain Compost
Please support our sponsors.

Copyright 1997-2017 Mind Media. Some rights reserved.

Generated in 0.023 seconds spending 0.003 seconds on 16 queries.