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A team at Purdue University needed to generate a string of random numbers, a surprisingly tricky task that is complicated by the fact that whatever method you use to generate the numbers will have some influence on them. Physics professor Ephraim Fischbach decided to use the decay of radioactive isotopes as a source of randomness. Although the overall decay is a known constant, the individual atoms would decay in unpredictable ways, providing a random pattern.
That's when they discovered something strange. The data produced gave random numbers for the individual atoms, yes, but the overall decay wasn't constant, flying in the face of the accepted rules of chemistry. Intrigued, they checked out long range observations of silicon-32 and radium-226 decay, both of which showed a slight but definite variation over time. Intriguingly, the decay seemed to vary with the seasons, with the rate a little faster in the winter and a little slower in the summer.