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Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

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  • c1ue
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Originally posted by jk
    are there methods to generate the HUGE numbers of neutrinos needed to deliberately impact a radiation-based artifact?
    To my knowledge, no. But then again, there wasn't really any reason to do so previously.

    Ways by which neutrinos are generated now: nuclear decay/nuclear fission, cosmic rays hitting atoms. The latter would seem like one path to neutrino generation, though probably less than useful since most cosmic ray generation at a large scale involves nuclear weapons.

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  • jk
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    are there methods to generate the HUGE numbers of neutrinos needed to deliberately impact a radiation-based artifact?

    this reminds me of a column in the nytimes many years ago. it was when someone proposed a neutron bomb, which would kill living things via neutron radiation, while leaving physical assets undisturbed. the column proposed instead a neutrino bomb, which would produce altogether harmless neutrino radiation while making a very loud BANG, so the targets would know they'd been had.

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  • Forrest
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    I understand your point, however, in the article the scientists were assuming many, many years for petrification, when with the right chemical mix, petrification can happen very quickly, far shorter than people assume, to the point there are actual formulas now for the quick petrifaction of trees, and so forth.

    Wood can be petrified in a matter of days or weeks given the right chemical "cocktail'. Although the exact recipe is patented by Hamilton Hicks of Greenwich, Connecticut, the mix includes materials commonly found in areas of volcanic activity. Mineral rich waters containing calcium, magnesium, and manganese as well as some type of acid produce a bath that penetrates the wood and petrifies it. At the Department of Energy lab wood has been petrified by using an acid bath, followed by soaking in silica then being dried in an argon-filled furnace. In Queensland, Australia there have been numerous examples of fence posts, axe-chopped wood, etc with known dates in the early 1900's being buried then when later uncovered. It would appear that contrary to the common thinking on the subject of petrification the process does not take millions of years but rather a particular set of circumstances including acids, minerals, and hot and/or dry conditions. This explains how the wood grain is so perfectly preserved in the petrification process. If the process took millions of years the wood would have long since deteriorated and therefore the material which replaced it would not have the look and grain of wood.


    There may have been other proofs regarding the age of the fox/tree. In any event, the scientists involved didn't seem to think the time allotted was sufficient for the petrifaction of the fox/tree they were looking at. Perhaps they were unaware of how petrifaction occurs under different element mixes.

    My point was that if neutrinos can speed up the rate of the half-life in erratic ways, it would become impossible to trust any carbon dating. At any event, it is the shaking of the scientific certainty of theories that entertains me, since to me a theory is merely a posited guess based on known information. Now that there may be more to know, they cannot be so pot sure of their conclusions. It will not, of course, cause them to moderate the certainty of their conviction that current carbon dating is as accurate as they thought. It is enough for me that they feel the moment of awe at the suddenly expanded horizons that they face, instead of thinking all of their information settled fact.

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  • astonas
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Originally posted by Forrest View Post
    I think it could be grossly off...there is no guarantee that the amount and frequency of neutrinos emitted in the past are consistant with what is happening today, and it will be a long time until they can even verify the effect, it's strength or frequency.

    I once saw an article about a petrified fox being found inside a tree. I don't recall if the tree was petrified, or not, but it seems likely. When carbon dating the fox, they found that is was only 30 or so years old. Not being able to explain it, the scientists involved hastily dropped the problem because it conflicted with the carbon dating theory at the time. It's not the first time that something with an odd result in carbon dating has been assumed to be wrong because it did not fit with the over all theory of carbon dating. And now, who knows what is the truth? Or what can be proven anymore!

    So much fun!!!
    There must be some confusion here. Radiocarbon dating can't place things with sufficient precision to say anything was "30 or so years old." It usually can't give a meaningful answer with a time sensitivity smaller than thousands of years, given the noise floor. If that was the reported result, the tech didn't understand the limits of his tools, either the meter itself, or the intrinsic variability in absorbed isotopes in a given sample. (Which I suppose might also legitimately call into question other aspects of their measurement.)

    It's a bit like saying you used a ruler to measure the size of a molecule. Whether the number "fits with the overall theory" or not, you know that the guy reporting that result made a mistake, because it is simply a non-physically precise result, independent of the numerical value itself.
    Last edited by astonas; 05-15-13, 08:24 PM.

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  • Forrest
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Originally posted by raja View Post
    Thanks. Truly fascinating . . . .

    On the carbon dating, could dates be grossly off or still in the ballpark?
    I think it could be grossly off...there is no guarantee that the amount and frequency of neutrinos emitted in the past are consistant with what is happening today, and it will be a long time until they can even verify the effect, it's strength or frequency.

    I once saw an article about a petrified fox being found inside a tree. I don't recall if the tree was petrified, or not, but it seems likely. When carbon dating the fox, they found that is was only 30 or so years old. Not being able to explain it, the scientists involved hastily dropped the problem because it conflicted with the carbon dating theory at the time. It's not the first time that something with an odd result in carbon dating has been assumed to be wrong because it did not fit with the over all theory of carbon dating. And now, who knows what is the truth? Or what can be proven anymore!

    So much fun!!!

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  • raja
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Originally posted by c1ue View Post

    Other impacts: carbon dating. How sure are we now of dates previously assayed via carbon 14 decay rates?
    Thanks. Truly fascinating . . . .

    On the carbon dating, could dates be grossly off or still in the ballpark?

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  • c1ue
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Originally posted by raja
    Could you please expand on what you think the real life implications would be?
    The proven existence of an effect which can span such an enormous distance - a great field to work in for the next generation's communications capability. The effect also appears to be little affected by matter - thus might be impossible to block.

    Weaponization - the ability to generate said particles could be used to much more rapidly age an opponent's nuclear arsenal. It could be also used to screw up nuclear reactors. It could be used to accelerate the aging of nuclear waste.

    It definitely affects the parts of the medical field associated with radioactives. Do radioactive tracers need to be calibrated? Do irradiation sources need to be calibrated? How are CT scans affected? X Rays? CAT?

    Other impacts: carbon dating. How sure are we now of dates previously assayed via carbon 14 decay rates? Some smoke detectors contain a radioactive isotope - americium. Satellites and space probes often use fission power generation.

    The ability to affect matter with essentially unblockable particles also means there could very well be other potential effects.

    If this effect impacts atomic decay - does it also impact other atomic behavior? For example, the time keeping of atomic clocks?

    If the effects are due to neutrinos, or some new particle, this also brings more pressure on the standard model - as this type of effect is completely not covered (to my understanding).
    Last edited by c1ue; 05-15-13, 01:54 PM.

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  • vinoveri
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Originally posted by Forrest View Post
    I am always pleased when scientists have to admit that what they have been preaching as truth may not be as true as they thought it was.
    The hard sciences typically can't avoid fitting and reforming hypotheses based on observables. If we could only get the social "scientists" to do this as well Observe that the "sciences" which inform and dictate the majority of governmental policy are soft (or pseudo) in some cases - anthropology /sociology / psychology and of course most influential: Economics - very convenient for since most of these can be molded to support whatever policies are desired by TPTB, and many tenets are developed not by rigor including falsibility of hypothesis but by consensus.

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  • raja
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Originally posted by c1ue View Post
    If this is true, massive theoretical as well as real life implications.
    Could you please expand on what you think the real life implications would be?

    Thanks.

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  • Forrest
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Originally posted by c1ue View Post
    If this is true, massive theoretical as well as real life implications.

    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/a...un-082310.html

    A surprise

    Going back to take another look at the decay data from the Brookhaven lab, the researchers found a recurring pattern of 33 days. It was a bit of a surprise, given that most solar observations show a pattern of about 28 days – the rotation rate of the surface of the sun.

    The explanation? The core of the sun – where nuclear reactions produce neutrinos – apparently spins more slowly than the surface we see. "It may seem counter-intuitive, but it looks as if the core rotates more slowly than the rest of the sun," Sturrock said.

    All of the evidence points toward a conclusion that the sun is "communicating" with radioactive isotopes on Earth, said Fischbach.

    But there's one rather large question left unanswered. No one knows how neutrinos could interact with radioactive materials to change their rate of decay.

    "It doesn't make sense according to conventional ideas," Fischbach said. Jenkins whimsically added, "What we're suggesting is that something that doesn't really interact with anything is changing something that can't be changed."

    "It's an effect that no one yet understands," agreed Sturrock. "Theorists are starting to say, 'What's going on?' But that's what the evidence points to. It's a challenge for the physicists and a challenge for the solar people too."

    If the mystery particle is not a neutrino, "It would have to be something we don't know about, an unknown particle that is also emitted by the sun and has this effect, and that would be even more remarkable," Sturrock said.


    I am always pleased when scientists have to admit that what they have been preaching as truth may not be as true as they thought it was.

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  • c1ue
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Follow up on the original commentary: it appears there is substantial empirical evidence - including reproduction of results - validating the original experimental evidence.

    Besides Purdue and Stanford, the Air Force, Mayo Clinic, and Ohio State have also chimed in. Other notes: the evidence seems to point towards neutrinos as the effect is consistent with the Earth's distance from the Sun at different points during the year/orbit, as well as other features of the Sun including the Sun's rotation.

    http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/relea...e-warning.html

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers may have discovered a new method to predict solar flares more than a day before they occur, providing advance warning to help protect satellites, power grids and astronauts from potentially dangerous radiation.

    The system works by measuring differences in gamma radiation emitted when atoms in radioactive elements "decay," or lose energy. This rate of decay is widely believed to be constant, but recent findings challenge that long-accepted rule.

    The new detection technique is based on a hypothesis that radioactive decay rates are influenced by solar activity, possibly streams of subatomic particles called solar neutrinos. This influence can wax and wane due to seasonal changes in the Earth's distance from the sun and also during solar flares, according to the hypothesis, which is supported with data published in a dozen research papers since it was proposed in 2006, said Ephraim Fischbach, a Purdue University professor of physics.

    Fischbach and Jere Jenkins, a nuclear engineer and director of radiation laboratories in the School of Nuclear Engineering, are leading research to study the phenomenon and possibly develop a new warning system. Jenkins, monitoring a detector in his lab in 2006, discovered that the decay rate of a radioactive sample changed slightly beginning 39 hours before a large solar flare.

    Since then, researchers have been examining similar variation in decay rates before solar flares, as well as those resulting from Earth's orbit around the sun and changes in solar rotation and activity. The new findings appeared online last weekin the journal Astroparticle Physics.

    "It's the first time the same isotope has been used in two different experiments at two different labs, and it showed basically the same effect," Fischbach said. The paper was authored by Jenkins and Fischbach; Ohio State University researchers Kevin R. Herminghuysen, Thomas E. Blue, Andrew C. Kauffman and Joseph W. Talnagi; U.S. Air Force researcher Daniel Javorsek; Mayo Clinic researcher Daniel W. Mundy; and Stanford University researcher Peter A. Sturrock.

    Data were recorded during routine weekly calibration of an instrument used for radiological safety at Ohio State's research reactor. Findings showed a clear annual variation in the decay rate of a radioactive isotope called chlorine 36, with the highest rate in January and February and the lowest rate in July and August, over a period from July 2005 to June 2011.

    The new observations support previous work by Jenkins and Fischbach to develop a method for predicting solar flares. Advance warning could allow satellite and power grid operators to take steps to minimize impact and astronauts to shield themselves from potentially lethal radiation emitted during solar storms.

    The findings agree with data previously collected at the Brookhaven National Laboratory regarding the decay rate of chlorine 36; changes in the decay rate were found to match changes in the Earth-sun distance and Earth's exposure to different parts of the sun itself, Fischbach said.

    Large solar flares may produce a "coronal mass ejection" of highly energetic particles, which can interact with the Earth's magnetosphere, triggering geomagnetic storms that sometimes knock out power. The sun's activity is expected to peak over the next year or so as part of an 11-year cycle that could bring strong solar storms.
    Solar storms can be especially devastating if the flare happens to be aimed at the Earth, hitting the planet directly with powerful charged particles. A huge solar storm, called the Carrington event, hit the Earth in 1859, a time when the only electrical infrastructure consisted of telegraph lines.

    "There was so much energy from this solar storm that the telegraph wires were seen glowing and the aurora borealis appeared as far south as Cuba," Fischbach said. "Because we now have a sophisticated infrastructure of satellites, power grids and all sort of electronic systems, a storm of this magnitude today would be catastrophic. Having a day and a half warning could be really helpful in averting the worst damage."
    Satellites, for example, might be designed so that they could be temporarily shut down and power grids might similarly be safeguarded before the storm arrived.
    Researchers have recorded data during 10 solar flares since 2006, seeing the same pattern.

    "We have repeatedly seen a precursor signal preceding a solar flare," Fischbach said. "We think this has predictive value."

    The Purdue experimental setup consists of a radioactive source - manganese 54 - and a gamma-radiation detector. As the manganese 54 decays, it turns into chromium 54, emitting a gamma ray, which is recorded by the detector to measure the decay rate.

    Purdue has filed a U.S. patent application for the concept.

    Research findings show evidence that the phenomenon is influenced by the Earth's distance from the sun; for example, decay rates are different in January and July, when the Earth is closest and farthest from the sun, respectively.

    "When the Earth is farther away, we have fewer solar neutrinos and the decay rate is a little slower," Jenkins said. "When we are closer, there are more neutrinos, and the decay a little faster."

    Researchers also have recorded both increases and decreases in decay rates during solar storms.

    "What this is telling us is that the sun does influence radioactive decay," Fischbach said.

    Neutrinos have the least mass of any known subatomic particle, yet it is plausible that they are somehow affecting the decay rate, he said.

    Physicist Ernest Rutherford, known as the father of nuclear physics, in the 1930s conducted experiments indicating the radioactive decay rate is constant, meaning it cannot be altered by external influences.

    "Since neutrinos have essentially no mass or charge, the idea that they could be interacting with anything is foreign to physics," Jenkins said. "So, we are saying something that doesn't interact with anything is changing something that can't be changed. Either neutrinos are affecting decay rate or perhaps an unknown particle is."
    Jenkins discovered the effect by chance in 2006, when he was watching television coverage of astronauts spacewalking at the International Space Station. A solar flare had erupted and was thought to possibly pose a threat to the astronauts. He decided to check his equipment and discovered that a change in decay-rate had preceded the solar flare.

    Further research is needed to confirm the findings and to expand the work using more sensitive equipment, he said.

    Jenkins and Fischbach have previously collaborated with Peter Sturrock, a professor emeritus of applied physics at Stanford University and an expert on the inner workings of the sun, toexamine data collected at Brookhaven on the decay rate of radioactive isotopes silicon-32 and chlorine-36. The team reported in 2010 in Astroparticle Physics that the decay rate for both isotopes varies in a 33-day recurring pattern, which they attribute to the rotation rate of the sun's core.

    The group found evidence of the same annual and 33-day effect in radium-226 data taken at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Braunschweig, Germany, and those findings were published in 2011. They also found an additional 154-day recurring pattern in both the Brookhaven and PTB data, published in 2011, which they believe to be solar related and similar to a known solar effect called a Rieger periodicity.

    Writer:
    Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu
    Sources: Ephraim Fischbach, 765-494-5506, ephraim@purdue.edu
    Jere Jenkins, 765-496-3573, jere@purdue.edu
    Note to Journalists: An electronic copy of the research paper is available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...512001442?v=s5 or from Emil Venere at 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu.


    ABSTRACT

    Additional Experimental Evidence for a Solar Influence on Nuclear Decay Rates


    Jere H. Jenkins a,b,*, Kevin R. Herminghuysen c, Thomas E. Blue c, Ephraim Fischbach b, Daniel Javorsek II d, Andrew C. Kauffman c, Daniel W. Mundy e, Peter A. Sturrock f, Joseph W. Talnagi c


    A
    School of Nuclear Engineering, Purdue University
    b
    Department of Physics, Purdue University
    c
    Ohio State University Research Reactor
    d
    412th Test Wing, Edwards AFB
    e
    Department of Radiation Oncology Physics, Mayo Clinic
    f
    Center for Space Science and Astrophysics, Stanford University


    Additional experimental evidence is presented in support of the recent hypothesis that a possible solar influence could explain fluctuations observed in the measured decay rates of some isotopes. These data were obtained during routine weekly calibrations of an instrument used for radiological safety at the Ohio State University Research Reactor using 36Cl. The detector system used was based on a Geiger-Müller gas detector, which is a robust detector system with very low susceptibility to environmental changes. A clear annual variation is evident in the data, with a maximum relative count rate observed in January/February, and a minimum relative count rate observed in July/August, for seven successive years from July 2005 to June 2011. This annual variation is not likely to have arisen from changes in the detector surroundings, as we show here.

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  • c1ue
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Originally posted by ggirod
    The good thing about real science is that truth is distilled from the preponderance of evidence, from people around the world measuring phenomena different ways with different equipment and methods, and finding similar results. Over-interpretation of anecdotal evidence, particularly when it runs counter to long standing scientific consensus, is generally not adequate to discredit established science or announce new astounding findings. I like this quote ...
    Certainly true.

    That's why real science looks at the facts - whether convenient or not.

    Equally so criticisms should be factual and speak to the hypothesis.

    The previous paper did not - it merely spoke to one specific aspect, whereas this NIST proof is much more relevant.

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  • thriftyandboringinohio
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    It is fascinating to watch real science play out.
    Thanks for the post, c1ue, and for the insightful comments, ggirod.

    When we investigate subtle phenomenon at the edges of our understanding it can take years for a solid consensus to arrive. Though I have absolutely no expertise in this field, I suspect the time-base explanation is nearer the truth. I know that the measuring tools used in this kind of advanced work are often complex instruments, custom-made and one-of-a-kind, and many surpising early test results are found later to be either errrors in these ghastly complex instruments or some failure to isolate outside influences that are themselves barely measureable.

    People who have never been involved in hard science seem to find this lack of instant certainty alarming.

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  • ggirod
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    Science to the rescue. Lindstrom, et. al. found in the lab what was also found in the interplanetary radioactive decay data I cited....

    According to NIST scientist emeritus Richard Lindstrom, the variations observed in other experiments may have been due to environmental conditions interfering with the instruments themselves.
    Which found something quite similar to this from my previous post.
    The more likely explanation (from Cramer) is that the time base used to measure radioactive decay changed with seasonal temperatures in the lab, as the crystal that set the timing standard expanded and shrunk with lab temperatures.
    The good thing about real science is that truth is distilled from the preponderance of evidence, from people around the world measuring phenomena different ways with different equipment and methods, and finding similar results. Over-interpretation of anecdotal evidence, particularly when it runs counter to long standing scientific consensus, is generally not adequate to discredit established science or announce new astounding findings. I like this quote ...
    “There are always more unknowns in your measurements than you can think of,” Lindstrom says.
    Or, to quote Carl Sagan,
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
    Last edited by ggirod; 09-28-10, 08:25 AM. Reason: added quote

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  • c1ue
    replied
    Re: Particles which don't interact with anything apparently affecting physics constants (i.e. not constant)

    An experiment directly correlating neutrino flux and radioactive decay - showing that if the variation is real, it would not seem to be due to neutrino flux:

    Real science in action...

    http://www.nist.gov/cstl/analytical/14c_091410.cfm

    Recent puzzling observations of tiny variations in nuclear decay rates have led some to question the science of using decay rates to determine the relative ages of rocks and organic materials. Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), working with researchers from Purdue University, the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Wabash College, tested the hypothesis that solar radiation might affect the rate at which radioactive elements decay and found no detectable effect.
    Radioactive elements transmute into more stable materials by shooting off particles at a steady rate. For instance, half the mass of carbon-14, an unstable isotope of carbon, will decay into nitrogen-14 over a period of 5,730 years. Archaeologists routinely use radiometric dating to determine the age of materials such as ancient campfires and mammoth teeth.
    İZoltan Pataki/courtesy Shutterstock

    Atoms of radioactive isotopes are unstable and decay over time by shooting off particles at a fixed rate, transmuting the material into a more stable substance. For instance, half the mass of carbon-14, an unstable isotope of carbon, will decay into nitrogen-14 over a period of 5,730 years. The unswerving regularity of this decay allows scientists to determine the age of extremely old organic materials—such as remains of Paleolithic campfires—with a fair degree of precision. The decay of uranium-238, which has a half-life of nearly 4.5 billion years, enabled geologists to determine the age of the Earth.
    Many scientists, including Marie and Pierre Curie, Ernest Rutherford and George de Hevesy, have attempted to influence the rate of radioactive decay by radically changing the pressure, temperature, magnetic field, acceleration, or radiation environment of the source. No experiment to date has detected any change in rates of decay.
    Recently, however, researchers at Purdue University observed a small (a fraction of a percent), transitory deviation in radioactive decay at the time of a huge solar flare. Data from laboratories in New York and Germany also have shown similarly tiny deviations over the course of a year. This has led some to suggest that Earth’s distance from the sun, which varies during the year and affects the planet’s exposure to solar neutrinos, might be related to these anomalies.
    Researchers from NIST and Purdue tested this by comparing radioactive gold-198 in two shapes, spheres and thin foils, with the same mass and activity. Gold-198 releases neutrinos as it decays. The team reasoned that if neutrinos are affecting the decay rate, the atoms in the spheres should decay more slowly than the atoms in the foil because the neutrinos emitted by the atoms in the spheres would have a greater chance of interacting with their neighboring atoms. The maximum neutrino flux in the sample in their experiments was several times greater than the flux of neutrinos from the sun. The researchers followed the gamma-ray emission rate of each source for several weeks and found no difference between the decay rate of the spheres and the corresponding foils.
    According to NIST scientist emeritus Richard Lindstrom, the variations observed in other experiments may have been due to environmental conditions interfering with the instruments themselves.
    “There are always more unknowns in your measurements than you can think of,” Lindstrom says.
    * R.M. Lindstrom, E. Fischbach, J.B. Buncher, G.L. Greene, J.H. Jenkins, D.E. Krause, J.J. Mattes and A. Yue. Study of the dependence of 198Au half-life on source geometry. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2010.06.270

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