PhysicsLAB Amusing Problems
Nuclear Flu

 
Flu season has hit, and the bug was sure to not miss Dr. J. In fact, it is a special strain that is very appropriate for a physics teacher-the nuclear flu. Once contracted, it spreads like a chain reaction all over the body, causing its victim to become delirious. Dr. J is now in the critical state-that of mass confusion. J. Jr. and Timex try to tie him to a chair until he settles down, but he keeps breaking loose. (The binding energy is just too great.) Finally, in desperation, they send Tripod to the drug-store to get some medicine. As luck would have it, Tripod encounters a wisecracking druggist. A steady stream of one-liners (including, "we have the curie for nuclear flu") all seem to bomb in Tripod's view. "It's a shame that this over-the-counter humor isn't a controlled substance," counters Tripod. After finally telling the druggist to dispense with the humor, he gets the remedy-heavy water. The water he gets has 10-20 atoms of Tritium for every atom of ordinary hydrogen.
 
If the half-life of Tritium is 12.5 years, what will be the ratio of Tritium to ordinary hydrogen 50 years from now?

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