I was debating a friend and we started running numbers for the statistical accuracy of half-lives. I am a numbers guy(Accountant/Statistical Analysis), not a chemist. He is a scientist and his wife is a chemical engineer. Here is my question:(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

If we have been studying half lives of radioactive particles for less than 200 years, how do we know exactly what they are? We came up with 1.1764e-7 for the percentage of time we have studied the half life of Potassium. That is assuming 200 years of study/1.7billion years for the half-life. In the statistical world, that is not enough to even discuss, however I understand that we have to use what we have. These where just quick numbers, so please correct errors. What are we missing? Why are they so sure these half-lifes are correct? Thanks.

ps- Yes, I googled "half life accuracy, radiometric dating" and used the search function :)

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# Half Life Accuracy?

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