Unformatted text preview: 11 atoms of carbon. When an organism dies the carbon14 slowly decays, so the proportion of C14 is reduced over time. Carbon14 has a half life of 5730 years, making it very useful for measuring ages of objects that are a few thousand to several tens of thousands of years old. To measure the age of something, then, you measure the activity of carbon14, and compare it to the activity you'd expect it to have if it was brand new. Plugging these numbers into the decay equation along with the halflife, you can calculate the time period over which the nuclei decayed, which is the age of the object. An example...
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 Fall '10
 DavidJudd
 Physics, Radioactive Dating, Radioactive Decay, HalfLife, Carbon14, 5730 years

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