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Stable and Unstable Isotopes Elements can be made up of different isotopes. Different Types of Radioactivity How is it measured?Isotopes are atoms with the same number of protons and electrons, but a different number of neutrons. These are the elements that we see around us and find in nature. Radioactivity is measured using a unit called the "curie". The curie measures how many atoms spontaneously decay each second. You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.At an archaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2,000 years ago.How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?
Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on Earth.
There are three main types of radiation or radioactive decay depending on the isotope.
When isotopes are unstable they emit energy in the form of radiation.
The older an organism's remains are, the less beta radiation it emits because its C-14 is steadily dwindling at a predictable rate.
So, if we measure the rate of beta decay in an organic sample, we can calculate how old the sample is. Question: Kieth and Anderson radiocarbon-dated the shell of a living freshwater mussel and obtained an age of over two thousand years.
This means that if you have a sample of carbon-14 with 1,000 atoms, 500 of these atoms are expected to decay over the course of 5730 years.