The thing that makes this decay process so valuable for determining the age of an object is that each radioactive isotope decays at its own fixed rate, which is expressed in terms of its half-life.So, if you know the radioactive isotope found in a substance and the isotope's half-life, you can calculate the age of the substance. Well, a simple explanation is that it is the time required for a quantity to fall to half of its starting value.Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.The methods work because radioactive elements are unstable, and they are always trying to move to a more stable state. This process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by releasing radiation is called radioactive decay.Well, we know this because samples of his bones and hair and even his grass boots and leather belongings were subjected to radiocarbon dating.Radiocarbon dating, also known as carbon-14 dating or simply carbon dating, is a method used to determine the age of organic material by measuring the radioactivity of its carbon content.By anyone's standards, 50 billion years is a long time.In fact, this form of dating has been used to date the age of rocks brought back to Earth from the moon.
So, we start out with two isotopes of uranium that are unstable and radioactive.
The uranium-235 to lead-207 decay series is marked by a half-life of 704 million years.
These differing rates of decay help make uranium-lead dating one of the most reliable methods of radiometric dating because they provide two different decay clocks.
For example, with potassium-argon dating, we can tell the age of materials that contain potassium because we know that potassium-40 decays into argon-40 with a half-life of 1.3 billion years.
With rubidium-strontium dating, we see that rubidium-87 decays into strontium-87 with a half-life of 50 billion years.
Radiocarbon dating is one kind of radiometric dating, used for determining the age of organic remains that are less than 50,000 years old.