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But when the organism dies, the amount of C-14 begins to decrease.
By 1907 study of the decay products of uranium (lead and intermediate radioactive elements that decay to lead) demonstrated to B. Boltwood that the lead/uranium ratio in uranium minerals increased with geologic age and might provide a geological dating tool.
This stuff is important to know when using radioactive isotopes as medical tracers, which are taken into the body to allow doctors to trace a pathway or find a blockage, or in cancer treatments.
They need to be active long enough to treat the condition, but they should also have a short enough half-life so that they don’t injure healthy cells and organs.
Radioactive dating is helpful for figuring out the age of ancient things.
Carbon-14 (C-14), a radioactive isotope of carbon, is produced in the upper atmosphere by cosmic radiation.
It takes a certain amount of time for half the atoms in a sample to decay.