Therefore, organisms from a single-celled bacteria to the largest of the dinosaurs leave behind carbon-based remains. Carbon dating is based upon the decay of 14C, a radioactive isotope of carbon with a relatively long half-life years.
While 12C is the most abundant carbon isotope, there is a close to constant carbon dating math problem of 12C to 14C in the environment, and hence in the molecules, cells, and tissues of living organisms. Returning to our example of carbon, knowing that the half-life of 14C is years, we can use this to find the constant, k. The half-life for 14C is approximately years, therefore the 14C isotope is only useful for dating fossils up to about 50, years old.
Uses worked examples of radioactive decay to demonstrate the reasoning and Carbon-dating evaluates the ratio of radioactive carbon to stable carbon or have it programmed into your equipment, but this is math, not "real life". I do not get the − value, but perhaps my answer will help anyway. If we assume Carbon decays continuously, then C(t)=C0e−kt. Hey, did you know that YOU are radioactive? You've got this stuff in you called Carbon It comes from cosmic rays that rain down on the earth (and us) from .