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Homework Help: The mean lifetime of muons

  1. Mar 5, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I am doing an experiment where I try to the determine the mean lifetime of muons. I collected enough data and I put it in a histogram (attached file), but I have no idea how to calculate the mean lifetime with this.

    2. Relevant equations
    y(t)=Ne^(-t/τ), where τ is the mean lifetime and N the initial amount of muons

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I plotted a trendline in excel and got a line with the formula y=-4.85ln(x)+10.637, which wasn't very helpful.
    Because the histogram shows the amount of muons that decays and not the amount of muons left I thought I should use dy/dt=Ne^(-t/τ)*(-1/τ), but this hasn't gotten me any closer either.

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2015 #2


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    Hello Flix, welcome to PF :smile:

    This fitted line has a slope for ln(y) . Did you check what you expect for the slope of the line obtained when plotting ln(dy/dt) ?
  4. Mar 5, 2015 #3


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    The counts is in effect the activity, A, of the sample.
    The mean life of the muons is the inverse of the decay constant.
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