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The math of radiometric dating

  So how do we know the dates that scientists give for fossils and rocks are correct? We have a good grasp of how half-life works. But we are dealing in tens of thousands, millions, even billions of years. How do they figure those dates out? Well, believe it or not it's MATH. Oh no, MATH.

 I am going to attempt to share with you the math of radiometric dating.  There will be logorithms and decay rates and ratios Oh my. But I promise you will come out of this being able to find the age of a rock or fossil just like a scientist does when he gets the parent/daughter ratio from the laboratory.

You can come just to watch. But if you are really interested please bring a scientific calculator. I use a TI-83plus. Practice getting Logorithms(LOG) and Natural logarithms(LN) from your calculator before the meet up and things will go much smoother when you get here.

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  • Mark T.

    Thanks Sam for having the patience to learn this stuff & pass it on to us. It was great to see everyone, as usual!

    April 20, 2014

  • Randy P.

    Continuing one from from above, Adam (Atom?) can be somewhat annoying in that once you encounter him you can't seem to get away from him. (But then once you get to know him, why would you want to?) I don't mean that he is a stalker. He just enjoys people so much that he is attracted to them. And if a long-term relationship is what you are looking for, well he is your guy. Bonding is just about his favorite thing to do. I will admit, though, that he is a little quarky (or it is quirky?). And you will just love his family. Though some of them are bit strange, most of them, like Adam (or again is it Atom?), are charming. I've met many of his kin. I've found most of them to be rather up-beat, though, like all of us, they do have their down moments. Nearly all of them would rank at the top of any list of individuals you'd want to invite to a party. There are few, sadly, who would be placed at the bottom of such a list.

    April 19, 2014

    • Jerry C.

      For a second I thought you were talking about Adam Woznicki. :)

      April 20, 2014

    • Sharon W.

      LOL - and Adam's family! Good job, Randy.

      April 20, 2014

  • Sam S.

    I'd like to thank everyone who attended this meeting. And especially those who helped contribute to the subject. Randy, Debbie, Jerry and Nick thank you for your helpful insight of math and science.

    2 · April 20, 2014

  • Suzy W.

    While not enjoying Sam's math participation parts as much as Randy, Debbi and Jerry and Mark were...I thoroughly enjoyed learning the process!!! Thank you Sam for taking this time to show us how you came to fully understand how this works and bringing it to us.
    Conversation was much lighter at Applebees afterwards, however, just as meaningful. :)

    2 · April 20, 2014

  • Jerry C.

    Awesome meetup, Sam!!! Thanks for sharing that. Thanks to Debbi and Randy for their insight as well. I really love the science meetups and this was very informative.

    1 · April 20, 2014

  • Debbi

    Baryon my wayward sun,,,

    2 · April 19, 2014

  • Jessica

    Doesn't look like the type of event I belong at to find a date.

    3 · April 18, 2014

    • Randy P.

      Now hold on there Jessica. Just maybe you can get a date at tonight's gathering. I have been told that Adam (or is it Atom, never could keep the spelling of his name straight) will be there tonight. I've met him numerous times. In fact he is periodically a subject of conversation in many places I go. He is a likable chap. Has a few negative attributes, but most people find him positively charming. No one who has ever met him is neutral on this subject. You either find him repulsive or attractive. (For most people it seems to be the latter).

      2 · April 19, 2014

    • Alida t.

      but remember, randy, size does matter

      April 19, 2014

  • Randy P.

    (Please disregard the duplicated post of this down below Jessica's comment)

    Now hold on there Jessica. Just maybe you can get a date at tonight's gathering. I have been told that Adam (or is it Atom, never could keep the spelling of his name straight) will be there tonight. I've met him numerous times. In fact he is periodically a subject of conversation in many place I go. He is a likable chap. Has a few negative attributes, but most people find him positively charming. No one who has ever met him is neutral on this subject. You either find him repulsive or attractive. (For most people it seems to be the latter).

    April 19, 2014

  • Maude

    May be of interest. Press release embargoed until 4/22. If you want to read the whole press release, I will post in the discussion area.

    Scientists successfully use krypton to accurately date ancient Antarctic ice

    CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of scientists has successfully identified the age of 120,000-year-old Antarctic ice using radiometric krypton dating – a new technique that may allow them to locate and date ice that is more than a million years old.

    The ability to discover ancient ice is critical, the researchers say, because it will allow them to reconstruct the climate much farther back into Earth's history and potentially understand the mechanisms that have triggered the planet to shift into and out of ice ages.

    Results of the discovery are being published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

    April 18, 2014

  • Mark T.

    For those with Android-system mobile devices, a good free app called TechCalc.

    April 18, 2014

  • Linas K M.

    But that's Holy Saturday!

    April 13, 2014

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