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(Whatever you're being treated for is the greater danger.) The half-life is just long enough for the doctors to have time to take their pictures.The dose I was given is -younger copy of an earlier document (in which case it is odd that there are no references to it in other documents, since only famous works tended to be copied), or, which is more likely, this is a recent forgery written on a not-quite-old-enough ancient parchment.(Since this is a decay problem, I expect the constant to be negative.If I end up with a positive value, I'll know that I should go back and check my work.) In Its radiation is extremely low-energy, so the chance of mutation is very low.A small percentage of carbon atoms have an atomic weight of 14 AMUs. Carbon-14 is an unstable, radioactive isotope of carbon 12.As with any radioactive isotope, carbon-14 decays over time.
And it has seven protons, and it also has seven neutrons. So the different versions of a given element, those are each called isotopes. So anyway, we have our atmosphere, and then coming from our sun, we have what's commonly called cosmic rays, but they're actually not rays. You can view them as just single protons, which is the same thing as a hydrogen nucleus. But every now and then one of those neutrons will bump into one of the nitrogen-14's in just the right way so that it bumps off one of the protons in the nitrogen and essentially replaces that proton with itself. But this number 14 doesn't go down to 13 because it replaces it with itself. And now since it only has six protons, this is no longer nitrogen, by definition. And that proton that was bumped off just kind of gets emitted. But this process-- and once again, it's not a typical process, but it happens every now and then-- this is how carbon-14 forms. You can essentially view it as a nitrogen-14 where one of the protons is replaced with a neutron. It makes its way into oceans-- it's already in the air, but it completely mixes through the whole atmosphere-- and the air. And plants are really just made out of that fixed carbon, that carbon that was taken in gaseous form and put into, I guess you could say, into kind of a solid form, put it into a living form. It gets put into plants, and then it gets put into the things that eat the plants. Well, the interesting thing is the only time you can take in this carbon-14 is while you're alive, while you're eating new things.
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Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.
The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.