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Some isotopes have half lives longer than the present age of the universe, but they are still subject to the same laws of quantum physics and will eventually decay, even if doing so at a time when all remaining atoms in the universe are separated by astronomical distances.

Various elements are used for dating different time periods; ones with relatively short half-lives like carbon-14 (or C) are useful for dating once-living objects (since they include atmospheric carbon from when they were alive) from about ten to fifty thousand years old. Longer-lived isotopes provide dating information for much older times.

Symbolically, the process of radioactive decay can be expressed by the following differential equation, where N is the quantity of decaying nuclei and k is a positive number called the exponential decay constant.

This led him to estimate that Earth was about 75,000 years old.

Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.

Radiometric dating methods are used to establish the geological time scale.

Radiometric dating (often called radioactive dating) is a way to find out how old something is.

The method compares the amount of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, in samples. It is the main way to learn the age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself.