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If you want to know how old someone or something is, you can generally rely on some combination of simply asking questions or Googling to arrive at an accurate answer.

This applies to everything from the age of a classmate to the number of years the United States has existed as a sovereign nation (243 and counting as of 2019).

The half-life of uranium-238 is 4.47 billion years, while that of uranium-235 is 704 million years.

Because these differ by a factor of almost seven (recall that a billion is 1,000 times a million), it proves a "check" to make sure you're calculating the age of the rock or fossil properly, making this among the most precise radiometric dating methods.

You also need to know when you can or cannot apply a particular type of device to the task at hand; for example, if you want to know how hot it is on the inside of an active wood stove, you probably understand that putting a household thermometer intended to measure body temperature inside the stove is not going to prove helpful.

Be aware also that for many centuries, most human "knowledge" of the age of rocks, formations such as the Grand Canyon, and everything else around you was predicated on the Genesis account of the Bible, which posits that the entire cosmos is perhaps 10,000 years old.

Radiometric dating takes advantage of the fact that the composition of certain minerals (rocks, fossils and other highly durable objects) changes over time.

Specifically, the relative amounts of their constituent Some things in nature disappear at a more or less constant rate, regardless of how much there is to start with and how much remains.

As an analogy, say you find yourself wondering, "How warm (or cold) is it outside?

Mathematically, from the above equations, this is N/N The trick is knowing which of the various common radioactive isotopes to look for.

This in turn depends in the approximate expected age of the object because radioactive elements decay at enormously different rates.

It's simple: You must have started with a total of 80 chips, because you now have 70 10 = 80 total additives to your ice cream.

Because your roommate eats half of the chips on any given day, and not a fixed number, the carton must have held 20 chips the day before, 40 the day before that, and 80 the day before that.

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