This chain eventually ends with the formation of a stable, nonradioactive daughter nuclide.

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Most people think that radioactive dating has proven the earth is billions of years old.

After all, textbooks, media, and museums glibly present ages of millions of years as fact.

Yet few people know how radiometric dating works or bother to ask what assumptions drive the conclusions. This figure wasn’t established by radiometric dating of the earth itself. Radiohalos shouldn’t exist, according to conventional wisdom!

Though they are very tiny, polonium radiohalos have a huge message that cannot be ignored.

For his leadership, Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960.

Similarly for paleontologists who find layers of fossils.

After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a "daughter" nuclide, or decay product.

In many cases, the daughter nuclide is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain.

By establishing geological timescales, radiometric dating provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and rates of evolutionary change, and it is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.

The different methods of radiometric dating are accurate over different timescales, and they are useful for different materials.

Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 years old.