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half-life

Half-Life
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Half-Life

Instead of just calculating how long a radioactive substance takes to decay, scientists calculate how long half of it takes to decay. Talk about half measures!

But this "half-life" idea makes sense. It allows us to figure out the ages of ancient rocks, as well as artificial elements gone in a flash. It could even let you figure out how long a bag of popcorn was popped for.

BBC
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Half-Life

Half-Life

Radioactive elements with brief half-lives can be dangerous, but also useful in medicine, archeology, and industry. (Remember, on British sites the word "revise" means "study.") More...

Article
S-Cool
A Popcorn Model for Radioisotopic Dating

A Popcorn Model for Radioisotopic Dating

By observing the "decay" of Kernelite into Popcornium, you can figure out the half-life of kernelite and tell how long the popcornium was in the microwave, without looking at the timer! More...

Activity
NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
As Long as There Are Stars, Radioactivity Will Exist

As Long as There Are Stars, Radioactivity Will Exist

Will the universe ever run out of radioactive isotopes? Not while stars are making new ones. And even if the stars burn out, the half-life of tellurium-128 is eight quadrillion quadrillion years. More...

Article
Cornell University
Halflife

Halflife

You've heard about people seeing their lives flash before their eyes. In this interactive, it's an isotope's half-life you watch speed past. And you don't even have to be on the verge of dying to do it! More...

Interactive
University of Colorado
Island of Stability

Island of Stability

As scientists cram more and more protons and neutrons together, they get artificial elements with half-lives far briefer than a second. But is a new, long-lived element waiting to be found? More...

Video
NOVA/PBS
Radioactive Dating Game

Radioactive Dating Game

Carbon-14 and uranium-238 are radioactive, but have no worry here. Try your hand at different methods of radiometric dating and watch how decay and half-life work. More...

Video
PhET
Sir Ernest Rutherford

Sir Ernest Rutherford

Find out more about the Nobel Prize winner who discovered the half-life of radio-active elements and is known by some as "the father of nuclear physics." More...

Profile
Michigan Technological University

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