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Picknouwer Award

Modeling the Decay of Radioactive Substances Using Programs

Data Science and Math
Tianyue Yang

Laryssa De Matos

This project aims to simulate the radioactive decay process of substances with given information digitally. Since the procedures are not conducted physically, no human subjects, vertebrate animals, or potentially hazardous biological agents will be involved. The programming section of the project will be done on the website Replit using the language Java. First, the program would ask the user to input the name of the substance and the time it takes for it to decay a certain fraction. Then, the program will use random numbers to simulate the decay process; it iterates until the percentage remaining falls below a set borderline. During the process, the number of times the program iterates will be stored. After the iteration ends, the program will compute the number of years it takes for the substance to decay by multiplying the repetition count and the given years. Several trials should be done to eliminate expectancies. The outcome of these trials and their average are expected to be displayed on the screen after the program ends. Desirably, intermediate cycles of display would also be shown in an organized format.

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