CINCH_approved_100x91.jpgIn this Computing in Science Education (CSE) exercise we mainly use the computer's number crunching capability to quickly plot the total disintegration rate from from genetically dependent mother-daughter nuclei. To be more realistic we will also optionally add a constant "background" to the plots. In this way the plot will be comparable to what you actually would observe from a detector measuring observing radiative events caused by disintegrations from either the mother nucleus, the daughter nucleus or sporadic events from the general background radiation.

There are two principal routes to calculate the disintegration rate from the mother and daughter nuclei: Either you use the analytic solutions to the equations, or you can solve the differential equation representing the mother-daughter genetic dependence. The first one is the easiest and most practical; the second will train you in numerical methods for solving differential equations. In both cases you will be able to graphically investigate the dynamics in mother-daughter relationship and the principles behind a radionuclide generator if you add plotting capabilities to your program.

Follow this link for a general description of Computers in Education (CiE) exercises.

Learning Outcome

In addition to getting more experienced in solving differential equations numerically, the student will get the following learning outcomes in NRC (Nuclear and Radiochemistry) from this exercise:

Guides and material for students

Guides and material for teachers

Development History and Contact Person

This exercise was conceived by Jon Petter Omtvedt (UiO) and used for teaching in Nuclear Chemistry at University of Oslo since many years. It was included here at NucWik as part of the CINCH project. Håkon Beckstrøm (UiO) added some comments and experiences from using it for teaching how to solve differential equations by numerical methods.

If you have comments, suggestions, examples of programs (in any language) or anything else relevant, please write in the comment page (use the NucWik page commenting tool, but you must be a registered user) or send your feed-back to The teaching material for this particular CSE exercise is managed and updated by: Jon Petter Omtvedt. Feel free to contact me directly if you want to discuss this exercise or need help implementing it.