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We can use the same idea to find out how long it would take for a sample with radioactivity 120 Bq to drop to 30 Bq. We can use radioactive decay to calculate the age of things.

The best-known technique is called ‘radiocarbon dating’ or just 'carbon dating'.

They get less radioactive in a way that's called an exponential.

Exponential decay means that equal periods of time give equal changes in radioactivity.

Carbon-14 is produced in the upper atmosphere by cosmic rays.

It is a beta emitter with a half-life of about 5600 years.

It's not that radioactive isotopes 'have' a half-life.So you can pick any period of time, say 1 minute, and measure how much the radioactivity drops to in that minute. After another minute it will drop to 63% of this value. Now 63% isn't a very obvious number so we pick a time where the drop is something simple, like 50%, or a half.We could equally well choose the one-third life or the four-fifths life.An equilibrium is reached whereby about one in a trillion carbon atoms in the atmosphere is carbon-14.Carbon-14 in living things decays all the time but is replaced by carbon-14 in food. In fact, all living things are rearranged food and NOTHING else.

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