Scientists look at half-life decay rates of radioactive isotopes to estimate when a particular atom might decay.
A useful application of half-lives is radioactive dating.
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This has to do with figuring out the age of ancient things.
Radioactive dating is helpful for figuring out the age of ancient things.This decay is an example of an exponential decay, shown in the figure below.Knowing about half-lives is important because it enables you to determine when a sample of radioactive material is safe to handle.The rule is that a sample is safe when its radioactivity has dropped below detection limits. So, if radioactive iodine-131 (which has a half-life of 8 days) is injected into the body to treat thyroid cancer, it’ll be “gone” in 10 half-lives, or 80 days.This stuff is important to know when using radioactive isotopes as medical tracers, which are taken into the body to allow doctors to trace a pathway or find a blockage, or in cancer treatments.