These isotopes are stable, which is why they are with us today, but unstable isotopes are also present in minute amounts.About one carbon atom in a trillion (10) contains a radioactive nucleus with 6 protons and 8 neutrons — carbon 14.The most widely used tool to measure the age of the Earth is radioactive decay.
These highly energetic nuclear bullets wreak havoc on the atoms in the upper atmosphere: tearing electrons from their orbitals and setting them free, knocking neutrons and protons from the tight confines of the nucleus and setting them free, generating x-rays and gamma rays as they decelerate, and creating exotic particles like muons and pions directly from their excessive kinetic energy.
These are also highly energetic and will ionize atoms, transmute nuclei, and generate x-rays themselves.
Immer wenn ein Lebewesen stirbt, beginnt eine Stoppuhr zu laufen.
Die Wissenschaft kann diese Uhr ablesen und so das Alter eines Fundes ermitteln. Source unknown — possibly das Museum für Vor‑ und Frühgeschichte (the Museum for pre‑ and early history) in Berlin.
Bacteria, fungi, and animals eat these plants and each other.
In this way, atmospheric carbon is distributed throughout the web of life until every living thing has the same ratio of C as the atmosphere. Plants and animals tend to favor lighter nuclei just a bit.
Moreover, Rutherford and all scientists since him have declared that the radioactive decay of a given element or isotope occurs “at a specific, universal, immutable rate” (Castelvecchi 2008: 21).
Based on this assumption, scientists use the decay rate of certain substances to date the age of rock formations, fossils, and the Earth itself.
The Brookhaven study, for example, which lasted from 1982 till 1986, showed that samples of silicon-32 and chrlorine-36 “had rates of decay that varied with the seasons, by about 0.3 percent” (Ibid. Science News went on to report: The samples were kept at constant temperature and humidity, so the changing seasons should have had no effect on the experiment.
The team tried all the fixes it could to get rid of the fluctuations, but, in the end, decided to publish the results (Ibid.).
Alburger was unaware that, at the exact same time, the German scientists at the PTB had found the same thing, with “yearly oscillations in a decay rate, in a 15-year experiment with radium-226” (Ibid.).