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Therefore, the half-life of a radioactive element is independent of the amount of sample.
The most suitable type of sample for thermoluminescence dating is pottery, though the date gotten will be for the last time the object was fired. 711 Concord Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 876-3691 FAX (617) 661-0148 Illinois State Geological Survey Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory Geochemistry Section 615 East Peabody Drive Urbana, IL 61820 (217) 333-9083 FAX (217) 244-7004 Los Angeles County Museum of Art 5905 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036 (213) 857-6161 FAX (213) 931-7347 Purdue University Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory 1396 Physics Building West Lafayette, IN 47907-1396 (317) 494-6516 FAX (317) 494-0706 Teledyne Isotopes 50 Van Buren Avenue Westwood, NJ 07675 (201) 664-7070 FAX (201) 664-5586 Texas A&M University Department of Oceanography College Station, TX 77843 (409) 845-3651 United States Geological Survey 345 Middlefield Road Menlo Park, CA 94025 (415) 329-4685 FAX (415) 329-4684 United States Geological Survey National Center, 971 Reston, VA 22092 (703) 648-5350 FAX (703) 648-5310 United States Geological Survey, WRD Box 25046, Mail Stop 421 Denver Federal Center Denver, CO 80225 (303) 236-5178 FAX (303) 236-5047 University of Arizona Geosciences Department Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry Tuscon, AZ 85721 (520) 621-8888 FAX (520) 621-2672 University of Arizona NSF-Arizona AMS Laboratory PAS Building 81 Tuscon, AZ 85721 (520) 621-6810 FAX (520) 621-9619 University of California Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Archaeology Department Los Angeles, CA 90024 (310) 825-4169 FAX (310) 206-3051 University of California Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Department of Anthropology Riverside, CA 92512 (909) 787-5521 FAX (909) 787-5409 University of California, Irvine Department of Earth Science Radiocarbon Laboratory PSRF 207 Irvine, CA 92717 (909) 725-2116 FAX (909) 725-3256 University of Georgia Center for Applied Isotope Studies 120 Riverbend Road Athens, GA 30602-4702 (706) 542-1395 FAX (706) 542-6106 University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Miami, FL 33149 (305) 361-4100 FAX (305) 361-4112 University of Rochester Nuclear Structure Research Laboratory Rochester, NY 14627 (716) 275-4944 FAX (716) 275-8527 University of Texas at Austin J. Pickle Research Campus Radiocarbon Laboratory Mail Code 77600 Austin, TX 78712 (512) 471-6600 FAX (612) 471-5973 University of Washington Department of Geological Sciences Quaternary Isotope Laboratory AJ-20 Seattle, WA 98195 (206) 685-1735 FAX (206) 543-3836 University of Wisconsin - Madison Center for Climatic Research 1225 West Dayton Street Madison, WI 53706 (608) 262-7328 FAX (608) 262-5964 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Mc Lean Laboratory National Ocean Sciences AMS Facility Woods Hole, MA 002543 (508) 457-2000x2585 FAX (508) 457-2183 Daybreak Nuclear & Medical Systems Inc. Suess effect on biomarkers used to determine sediment provenance from land-use changes. And maybe not carbon-12, maybe we're talking about carbon-14 or something. And then nothing happens for a long time, a long time, and all of a sudden two more guys decay. And the atomic number defines the carbon, because it has six protons. If they say that it's half-life is 5,740 years, that means that if on day one we start off with 10 grams of pure carbon-14, after 5,740 years, half of this will have turned into nitrogen-14, by beta decay. What happens over that 5,740 years is that, probabilistically, some of these guys just start turning into nitrogen randomly, at random points. So if we go to another half-life, if we go another half-life from there, I had five grams of carbon-14. So now we have seven and a half grams of nitrogen-14. This exact atom, you just know that it had a 50% chance of turning into a nitrogen. So with that said, let's go back to the question of how do we know if one of these guys are going to decay in some way. That, you know, maybe this guy will decay this second. Remember, isotopes, if there's carbon, can come in 12, with an atomic mass number of 12, or with 14, or I mean, there's different isotopes of different elements. So the carbon-14 version, or this isotope of carbon, let's say we start with 10 grams. Well we said that during a half-life, 5,740 years in the case of carbon-14-- all different elements have a different half-life, if they're radioactive-- over 5,740 years there's a 50%-- and if I just look at any one atom-- there's a 50% chance it'll decay. Now after another half-life-- you can ignore all my little, actually let me erase some of this up here. So we'll have even more conversion into nitrogen-14. So now we're only left with 2.5 grams of c-14. Well we have another two and a half went to nitrogen. So after one half-life, if you're just looking at one atom after 5,740 years, you don't know whether this turned into a nitrogen or not. SAL: In the last video we saw all sorts of different types of isotopes of atoms experiencing radioactive decay and turning into other atoms or releasing different types of particles. But the question is, when does an atom or nucleus decide to decay? So it could either be beta decay, which would release electrons from the neutrons and turn them into protons. And normally when we have any small amount of any element, we really have huge amounts of atoms of that element. That's 6.02 times 10 to the 23rd carbon-12 atoms. This is more than we can, than my head can really grasp around how large of a number this is.