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On the 209Po Half-Life Error and Its Confirmation: A Critique



Ronald Colle, Arthur M. Colle


Collé, et al [(2007) Appl. Radiat Isot. 65, 728; (2014) J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 41, 105103], over the course of nearly a decade and with decay data from a period of 20.7 years, initially uncovered and then substantiated a 25 % error in the 209Po half-life. Pommé, et al [(2015) Appl. Radiat Isot. 97, 84] recently reported on a “confirmation” of the error, which was said to be based on another half-life determination. This paper addresses the issue as to whether the Pommé (2015) claim from measurements made over 0.8 % of one half-life can withstand critical scrutiny. Although the Collé (2014) and Pommé (2015) values of (125.3  3.3) a and (120  6) a, respectively, are ostensibly in agreement, that appearance is irrelevant to the larger issue as to what constitutes a valid half-life determination. This critique is intended to highlight, as an example, that a careful and realistic analysis beyond the mere fitting of decay data to an exponential function is required for the measurement and reporting of half-life values.
Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry-Articles


data analysis, half-life, measurement uncertainty, polonium-209


Colle, R. and Colle, A. (2015), On the 209Po Half-Life Error and Its Confirmation: A Critique, Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry-Articles, [online], (Accessed July 13, 2024)


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Created June 11, 2015, Updated November 10, 2018