How do scientists use the knowledge of radioactive dating
Radiometric dating relies on the properties of isotopes.
Anthropologists can describe a people’s physical character, culture, and environmental and social relations.Archaeologists, on the other hand, provide proof of authenticity of a certain artifact or debunk historical or anthropological findings.Archaeology has undoubtedly enriched mankind’s history like no other science.How do scientists know the bones are really 68 million years old?Today’s knowledge of fossil ages comes primarily from radiometric dating, also known as radioactive dating.Atoms of radioactive isotopes are unstable and decay over time by shooting off particles at a fixed rate, transmuting the material into a more stable substance.
For instance, half the mass of carbon-14, an unstable isotope of carbon, will decay into nitrogen-14 over a period of 5,730 years.
Scientists, using rigorous methods have established a process to eliminate this problem by calibrating radiocarbon dating results to items of a known age.
In this way, items of unknown age can be tested and an age determined to a reasonable degree of accuracy. More tomorrow where we explore the concept of isochron dating and how it neatly destroys most of the rest of these ‘issues’.
Many scientists, including Marie and Pierre Curie, Ernest Rutherford and George de Hevesy, have attempted to influence the rate of radioactive decay by radically changing the pressure, temperature, magnetic field, acceleration, or radiation environment of the source.
No experiment to date has detected any change in rates of decay.
Recent puzzling observations of tiny variations in nuclear decay rates have led some to question the science behind carbon-14 dating and similar techniques.