A gamma probability density for the rate parameter has two parameters, which we will denote by a and v and has the mathematical form f (1)=^ e-^r-1 (3.52)

Since l is a rate, we conclude that a must be a time-like variable for their product to be dimensionless (the precise meaning of a will be determined below). Similarly, v must be dimensionless. In this equation, r (v) is read "the gamma function of nu''. Thus, before going on, we need to discuss the gamma function.

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