The kinetics of radioactive decay and radiometric dating
If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.and *.are unblocked.Following the somewhat serendipitous discovery of radioactivity by Becquerel, many prominent scientists began to investigate this new, intriguing phenomenon.Among them were Marie Curie (the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the only person to win two Nobel Prizes in different sciences—chemistry and physics), who was the first to coin the term “radioactivity,” and Ernest Rutherford (of gold foil experiment fame), who investigated and named three of the most common types of radiation.We classify different types of radioactive decay by the radiation produced. Alpha particles, which are attracted to the negative plate and deflected by a relatively small amount, must be positively charged and relatively massive.Beta particles, which are attracted to the positive plate and deflected a relatively large amount, must be negatively charged and relatively light.
Since the count rate is directly proportional to N, and the count rate at initial time is directly proportional to N is known. Cosmic radiation bombarding the atmosphere establishes a small but steady concentration of the radioactive isotope C, which through the carbon dioxide cycle is spread uniformly through the Earth's biosphere.
During the beginning of the twentieth century, many radioactive substances were discovered, the properties of radiation were investigated and quantified, and a solid understanding of radiation and nuclear decay was developed.
The spontaneous change of an unstable nuclide into another is radioactive decay.
This is not surprising because the energy of any molecular collision or interaction is negligible in comparison to the energies involved in nuclear processes.
As a consequence the decay of radioactive isotopes is usually described in terms of half-lives rather than in terms of rate constants.