Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity or nuclear radiation) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy (in terms of mass in its rest frame) by emitting radiation, such as an alpha particle, beta particle with neutrino or only a neutrino in the case of electron capture, or a gamma ray or electron in the case of internal conversion. Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon.. The method was developed in the late 1940s by Willard Libby, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960. It is based on the fact that radiocarbon (14 Scientists look at half-life decay rates of radioactive isotopes to estimate when a particular atom might decay. A useful application of half-lives is radioactive dating.This has to do with figuring out the age of ancient things. Radioactive Dating Chapter index in this window — — Chapter index in separate window This material (including images) is copyrighted!.See my copyright notice for fair use practices.. There are several ways to figure out relative ages, that is, if one thing is older than another. Planet Surfaces Chapter index in this window — — Chapter index in separate window This material (including images) is copyrighted!.See my copyright notice for fair use practices. Select the photographs to display the original source in another window. Decay & Half Life. Why is this chapter on half-life being presented? The purpose of this chapter is to explain the process of radioactive decay and its relationship to the concept of half-life. This lesson simulates radioactive decay to develop the understanding of what we mean by half-life. In this lesson, we'll go over the definition of radioactive elements. We'll learn about the different types of particles emitted during the process of radiation and look at some examples of. The waitress at the ice cream shop in Concord, Massachusetts, was surprised. "A Superfund site?" she asked incredulously. "On Main Street?" Radioactive decay is a random process. You cannot predict when an individual nucleus will decay but with large numbers of nuclei you can use a statistical approach.