Decay


Table of Contents

Read here about the concept of decay, a concept critical to the comprehension of scale. Decay is generally considered as the opposite of growth, though mathematically it can be well described as negative growth.

Overview


Decay or death is well described as a case of negative exponential growth.

Exponential decay occurs in a wide variety of situations. Most of these fall into the domain of the natural sciences. Any application of mathematics to the social sciences or humanities is risky and uncertain, because of the extraordinary complexity of human behavior. However, a few roughly exponential phenomena have been identified there as well.

Many decay processes that are often treated as exponential, are really only exponential so long as the sample is large and the law of large numbers holds. For small samples, a more general analysis is necessary, accounting for a Poisson process.

For more examples, see growth.

Links

Below are other links about exponential phenomena: