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The math behind radioactive carbon dating

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When an organism dies, the amount of 12C present remains unchanged, but the 14C decays at a rate proportional to the amount present with a half-life of approximately 5700 years.This change in the amount of 14C relative to the amount of 12C makes it possible to estimate the time at which the organism lived.The two solutions provided differ slightly in their approach in this regard.In his article Light Attenuation and Exponential Laws in the last issue of Plus, Ian Garbett discussed the phenomenon of light attenuation, one of the many physical phenomena in which the exponential function crops up.The task requires the student to use logarithms to solve an exponential equation in the realistic context of carbon dating, important in archaeology and geology, among other places.Students should be guided to recognize the use of the logarithm when the exponential function has the given base of $e$, as in this problem.

So when $t = 0$ the plant contains 10 micrograms of Carbon 14.

Now, take the logarithm of both sides to get $$ -0.693 = -5700k, $$ from which we can derive $$ k \approx 1.22 \cdot 10^.

$$ So either the answer is that ridiculously big number (9.17e7) or 30,476 years, being calculated with the equation I provided and the first equation in your answer, respectively.

A fossil found in an archaeological dig was found to contain 20% of the original amount of 14C. I do not get the $-0.693$ value, but perhaps my answer will help anyway.

If we assume Carbon-14 decays continuously, then $$ C(t) = C_0e^, $$ where $C_0$ is the initial size of the sample. Since it takes 5,700 years for a sample to decay to half its size, we know $$ \frac C_0 = C_0e^, $$ which means $$ \frac = e^, $$ so the value of $C_0$ is irrelevant.