Nuclear & Statistical Physics

Spontaneous disintegration of an unstable atomic nucleus is the archetype of a random process in nature. Tests of nuclear processes for randomness have significant implications for the foundations of quantum mechanics as well as for practical matters involving encryption and quantum computation. Some of the researches undertaken include:

  • Investigation of alpha, beta, and electron-capture decay processes of various radioactive nuclei to ascertain whether such processes do not occur completely randomly. One of the most comprehensive studies of this kind was the investigation of the beta decay of Sodium-22. A time series of sodium disintegrations gives rise to an assortment of random variables in both the time and frequency domains the distributions of which independently test for non-randomness of the decay process. Accord between experiment and theory based on the hypothesis of random decay was exquisite.
  • In response to published reports of radioactive decay processes exhibiting time variations with geophysical and/or astrophysical periodicities, I proposed new kinds of statistical tests of nuclear decay time series with the sensitivity to reveal an intrinsically periodic decay rate if such a phenomenon actually occurs in nature.
  • Besides investigations of nuclear processes, I have used statistics and statistical physics to elucidate numerous questions, some of serious scientific purpose and others simply amusing.
    • Among the most scientifically significant of these investigations is the study of long-term variation in climate temperature by means of underground sensors arranged sequentially in depth. As an experimental configuration complementary to standard methods of ground-based, sea-based, and satellite-based temperature measurements, the measurement of underground temperature at sufficient depth is sensitive only to seasonal periodicity and climate trends and independent of daily fluctuations due to weather.
    • Other projects involved the study of
      • Randomness of single-photon polarisations
      • Information content in data obtained from groups (“Wisdom of Crowds” phenomenon)
      • Extent of predictive information in a time series of stock market data
      • Statistics of residential electric energy usage
      • Number of dove-tailed shuffles to randomize a deck of cards.