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Homework Help: Studying half life and radioactive deca

  1. Oct 10, 2009 #1
    Hi guys I am currently doing some homework for physics and I am having a little bit of difficulty understanding the topic. We are currently studying half life and radioactive decay. We completed a practical involving the rolling of X number of dice and removed all dice that rolled the number 2. My question is:

    Is it possible for a decaying element to decay completely? If someone could give me an insight onto this and justify their response it would be appreciated.

    What is the relationship between the number of dice remaining and half life?

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2009 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Re: Help!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My compliments to your teacher on thinking up the dice exercise!
    I never did and I taught physics for 30 years.
    When you are down to only half the dice remaining, then the number of throws you have done is the half life.

    Yes, an element can decay completely. The formula makes sense until you get down to one atom (or one die) left. Then on the next throw you could lose your die (or your atom). Or maybe not - it is even possible, though extremely unlikely, that it will take forever for the last one to go.
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