Describe the principle of radioactive dating and radioisotopes decay

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The purpose of this chapter is to explain the process of radioactive decay and its relationship to the concept of half-life.

The alpha particle removes two protons (green) and two neutrons (gray) from the uranium-238 nucleus.

With the exception of hydrogen, the most abundant isotopes of the natural elements have the same number of protons and neutrons.

The most abundant form of hydrogen is protium, which has one proton and no neutrons.

Alpha decay typically occurs in nuclei that are so big that they can’t be stable.

In alpha decay, the nucleus ejects a helium nucleus (alpha particle) composed of two neutrons and two protons, dropping the mass of the original nucleus by four mass units.

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