Half-lives of radionuclides span more than 50 orders of magnitude. We characterize the probability distribution of this broad-range data set at the same time that we explore a method for fitting power laws and testing goodness-of-fit. It is found that the procedure proposed recently by Clauset does not perform well as it rejects the power-law hypothesis even for power-law synthetic data. In contrast, we establish the existence of a power-law exponent with a value around 1.1 for the half-life density, which can be explained by the sharp relationship between decay rate and released energy, for different disintegration types. For the case of alpha emission, this relationship constitutes an original mechanism of power-law generation. © 2011 American Physical Society.
|Journal||Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 6 Jun 2011|