Saturday, October 15, 2022
Have you ever wondered how scientists determine the age of a fossil or ancient relic? The secret is at the heart of an atom! Certain types of atoms give off particles and energy over time, a process called radioactive decay. This can happen very quickly, over seconds, or over millions of years. By observing radioactive decay, physicists can measure time on tiny or enormous scales. At this event, we learned more about the process and modeled it in an eye-opening and very delicious way – with chocolate.
Preparation: One 200g pack of plain M&M’s (not the peanut or any other variety). Count 100 M&M’s and put them in a small plastic or paper sandwich bag; one regular food plate (to spread the M&Ms); one pencil, eraser and a piece of paper to take notes.
NOTE: If you need to replace the M&M’s you can also use two packages of Skittles (around 120g).
Expert: Dr. Gwen Grinyer is an experimental nuclear physicist and an Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Regina.