Galton Board Model
written by Wolfgang Christian
content provider: Anne Cox
A Galton board is a vertical board with n rows of pegs onto which a ball is dropped. Each time a ball hits a peg, it has a probability p of bouncing to the left and a probability of 1-p of bouncing to the right. The simulation's histogram shows the distribution of x-coordinates as the balls leave the board and are collected into bins.
The simulation gives rise to the binomial distribution if the probabilities of left and right bounces are equal. At first there does not seem to be any pattern but after many trials the familiar "bell curve" shape begins to emerge.
The Galton Board model was created using the Easy Java Simulations (Ejs) modeling tool. It is distributed as a ready-to-run (compiled) Java archive. Double clicking the ejs_stp_GaltonBoard.jar file will run the program if Java is installed. Ejs is a part of the Open Source Physics Project and is designed to make it easier to access, modify, and generate computer models. Additional Ejs models for statistical and thermal physics are available. They can be found by searching ComPADRE for Open Source Physics, OSP, or Ejs.
Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
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Statistical and Thermal Physics