The question is: Assume an atom just became Lead-206--why would such an assumption be important?--when it was orginally Uranium-238. Show all the steps it took to get from 238U to 206Pb. For each step, indicate the nature of the decay. Assume also that it spent exactly 1 half-life as each of the intermediate isotopes. Finally, how old is this atom? I'm working on an assignment that's not due for awhile, and being we just started our inorganic chem. course, I really don't understand the major concepts here at all. Not that I'm asking anyone to do my homework here, but maybe you can start me off with some things I'm confused on, like... 1) What initiates decay? 2) How do you know how many particles the atom gives off at one time? (i.e. hydrogen vs. helium) 3) How the heck do you know what kind of energy it will give off???