Collecting a sample is a delicate task that is NOT naively equivalent to simply “taking some of the material”. The question examined is: “What is it exactly?” The problem of sampling in general, and for nuclear decontamination in particular, is properly defined. A theory is presented (Gy’s Theory of Sampling, a.k.a. TOS) that brings all the answers and allows us to put them to work. The author draws form his lifelong experience in research, teaching and practical applications in this domain to emphasize the critical odds (i.e. risks) of not taking sampling explicitly into account when assessing grades and concentrations. The evolution of the acceptance of this theory in the nuclear industry is finally illustrated, and a hopeful glimpse into the future concludes the presentation.

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