A mathematical explanation of carbon dating and half life Chatsex publik
Radioactive dating techniques rely on a statistical assumption, but a really solid one.
Any one of the many trillions of unstable atoms in a piece of radioactive material could individually decay or fission (break apart) at any moment.
Science uses radioactive isotopes to determine the age of many objects from the ancient past.In his article Light Attenuation and Exponential Laws in the last issue of Plus, Ian Garbett discussed the phenomenon of light attenuation, one of the many physical phenomena in which the exponential function crops up.In this second article he describes the phenomenon of radioactive decay, which also obeys an exponential law, and explains how this information allows us to carbon-date artefacts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.This means that we need a pipe that is 10.3 feet long in order for the pollutants to be reduced to 10% of their starting amount.Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.
The only problem is that we only know the number of daughter atoms now present, and some of those may have been present prior to the start of our clock. The reason for this is that Rb has become distributed unequally through the Earth over time.