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He was employed at Caltech's Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences at the time of writing the first edition.
He is presently employed in the Space & Atmospheric Sciences Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Some of the atoms eventually change from one element to another by a process called radioactive decay.
Rocks are made up of many individual crystals, and each crystal is usually made up of at least several different chemical elements such as iron, magnesium, silicon, etc.
The passage of time can be charted by the reduction in the number of parent atoms, and the increase in the number of daughter atoms.
Radiometric dating can be compared to an hourglass.
Most processes that we are familiar with are like sand in an hourglass.
In exponential decay the amount of material decreases by half during each half-life.
Radiometric dating--the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements--has been in widespread use for over half a century.