How are half life and radiocarbon dating used by scientists

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Think of the nucleus as a pyramid of building blocks.

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If, however, there are too many or too few neutrons, the atom is unstable, and it sheds particles until its nucleus reaches a stable state.Carbon consists of 99% carbon-12, 1% carbon-13, and about one part per million carbon-14.Results of carbon-14 dating are reported in radiocarbon years, and calibration is needed to convert radiocarbon years into calendar years.The result is like a radioactive clock that ticks away as unstable isotopes decay into stable ones.You can't predict when a specific unstable atom, or parent, will decay into a stable atom, or daughter.

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