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These ions are accelerated in an electric field through collimating slits and subject to a magnetic field which causes the ions to follow a curved path. By adjustment of the strength of the magnetic field and suitable placement of an ion collector, the different isotopes can be measured with precision.There are some things that affect these measurements.The concept of a half-life has been adopted by fields outside of science, such as marketing and finance.In marketing, half-life is a formula for estimating the total responses to be expected from a direct marketing campaign.And in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, a nuclear crisis raised fears about radiation and questions about the safety of nuclear power.Nuclear radiation can be both extremely beneficial and extremely dangerous. X-ray machines, some types of sterilization equipment and nuclear power plants all use nuclear radiation -- but so do nuclear weapons.After placing the uranium in an enclosed spot with no sunlight at all, Becquerel expected that the paper would be clear and free of dark spots.
However, a half-life can also be defined for non-exponential decay processes, although in these cases the half-life varies throughout the decay process.Here's a chart explaining the basics of radioactive decay.Image taken from the years, scientists have managed to determine some general rules to predict how likely it is that an atom will undergo radioactive decay.For example, the half-life of a radioactive substance is the amount of time it takes for half of its atoms to decay, and the half-life of a drug is the amount of time it takes before half of the active elements are either eliminated or broken down by the body.Depending on the particular substance involved, a half-life may be significantly shorter or longer than half of the substance's full period of activity.