Exponential decay question. fundamental!

  • Thread starter rjsbass
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  • #1
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this is just something has been bugging me for the last few days. it seems like it has a very basic solution.

Muons decay randomly, but have a mean lifetime of about 2 us. If I plot the # of muons that decay vs. time (say the axis spans from 0 to 20 us), why is the plot exponential decay? shouldn't it be a gaussian distribution centered around the mean lifetime?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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got it. textbooks ftw
 
Last edited:
  • #3
gneill
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Suppose you had a pile pile of newly minted muons. After 2 μs, how many would you expect to have left?
 
  • #4
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the majority of them will be gone but some will still remain?
 
  • #5
gneill
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You should be able to give a numerical answer from probability theory. Remember, the lifetime is a mean value.
 

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