You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.
At an archaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.
Other useful radioisotopes for radioactive dating include Uranium -235 (half-life = 704 million years), Uranium -238 (half-life = 4.5 billion years), Thorium-232 (half-life = 14 billion years) and Rubidium-87 (half-life = 49 billion years).
The use of various radioisotopes allows the dating of biological and geological samples with a high degree of accuracy.
However, the principle of carbon-14 dating applies to other isotopes as well.
Potassium-40 is another radioactive element naturally found in your body and has a half-life of 1.3 billion years.
As soon as a living organism dies, it stops taking in new carbon.
In this article, we will examine the methods by which scientists use radioactivity to determine the age of objects, most notably carbon-14 dating.
Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.
His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.
The article is in straightforward language and the non-technical reader could profitably work through it.
, we find that this ration is the same if we sample a leaf from a tree, or a part of your body.