[asa] Radioactive decay of U-238 is imminent (just wait a few billion years)

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Thu Jan 22 2009 - 12:07:52 EST

John Burgeson (ASA member) wrote:
> I take "imminent" to mean "at any time." No indication in the word as
> to whether that time is 10 nanoseconds from now -- or 4 million years.

Hi Burgy,

It strikes me that a scientific example illustrating the notion of immanence would be radioactive decay.

To take the most extreme instance, there is nothing inconsistent with the observation that for any atom of Uranium-238 the decay to Thorium-234 is "imminent" AND with the belief that with a half-life of about 4.5 billion years it's probably not worth sitting around waiting for it to happen!


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Received on Thu Jan 22 12:08:12 2009

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