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Radioactive dating bill nye matter


In beta decay, a neutron turns into a proton by emitting a beta particle, which is an electron click for credit. As someone who has studied radioactivity in detail, I have always been a bit amused by the assertion that radioactive dating is a precise way to determine the age Radioactive dating bill nye matter an object. This false notion is often promoted when radioactive dates are listed with utterly unrealistic error bars.

In this reportfor example, we are told that using one radioactive dating technique, a lunar rock sample is 4, million years old, plus or minus 23 million years old. Of course, that error estimate is complete nonsense. It refers to one specific source of error — the uncertainty in the measurement of the amounts of various atoms used in the analysis. Most likely, that is the least important source of error.

If those rocks really have been sitting around on the Radioactive dating bill nye matter for billions of years, I suspect that the the wide range of physical and chemical processes which occurred over that time period had a much more profound effect on the uncertainty of the age determination.

This is best illustrated by the radioactive age of a sample of diamonds from Zaire. Their age was measured to be 6. Do you see the problem?

Those who are committed to an ancient age for the earth currently believe that it is 4. Radioactive dating bill nye matter, then, the minimum error in that measurement is 1. Such uncertainties are usually glossed over, especially when radioactive dates are communicated to the public and, more importantly, to students.

Generally, we are told that scientists have ways to analyze the object they are dating so as to eliminate the uncertainties due to unknown processes that occurred in the past.

One way this is done...

One way this is done in many radioactive dating techniques is to use an isochron. However, a recent paper by Dr. Hayes has pointed out a problem with isochrons that has, until now, not been considered.

The elements rubidium and strontium are found in many rocks. One form of rubidium Rb is radioactive. As illustrated above, a neutron in a Rb atom can eject an electron often called a beta particlewhich has a negative charge.

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