Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Relativity, and the half life of Muons

  1. Feb 22, 2009 #1
    Hello all,
    Below I have a few questions regarding calculating the half life of muons. We measured how many muons were recorded at the top of a mountain, then measured how many muons were recorded at the bottom. Using this data, we calculated the half life of moving muons.

    Thanks for the help!

    1. A)Why is the flux of muons different at high and low altitudes?
    B)When calculating the time needed for a muons to travel from the top of a mountain to the bottom, do we need to account for the time that muons spend traveling from high in the atmosphere to the top of the mountain?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    A) Less Muons make it lower to the ground because some may decay before they reach the muon detector. Also various things such as a mountain may keep muons from reaching the ground.
    B)No because this time has the same ration as all of the other muons, and when calculating the half life, we are only using the time it takes for muons to reach from the top, to the bottom of a mountain.

    Thank you all for the help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2009 #2

    Chi Meson

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Your answers are correct. The second sentence in your answer to "a" is unnecessary, and a tad confusing (if a mountain got in the way of the ground, then it wouldn't be the ground would it? And other things in the air, smoke, dust, nitrogen, etc, wouldn't significantly stop the muons anyway).

    And in the answer to the second part, you have the magic word "ratio," but you could clarify what you mean by "this time."

    A total nitpicky jerk of a teacher (like me) would mark these answers as correct, but not with full points.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook