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Uranium-238 contains 92 protons and 146 neutrons, while uranium-235 contains 92 protons and 143 neutrons.

To keep it short, a nuclide is usually written using the elements abbreviation.

The rules are the same in all cases; the assumptions are different for each method.

To explain those rules, I'll need to talk about some basic atomic physics. Hydrogen-1's nucleus consists of only a single proton.

Radiometric dating methods are the strongest direct evidence that geologists have for the age of the Earth.

All these methods point to Earth being very, very old -- several billions of years old.

After emission, it quickly picks up two electrons to balance the two protons, and becomes an electrically neutral helium-4 (He4) atom. When an atom emits a beta particle, a neutron inside the nucleus is transformed to a proton.

The mass number doesn't change, but the atomic number goes up by 1.

When I first became interested in the creation-evolution debate, in late 1994, I looked around for sources that clearly and simply explained what radiometric dating is and why young-Earth creationists are driven to discredit it.Uraniums abbreviation is U, so uranium-238 can be more briefly written as U238.Many nuclides are stable -- they will always remain as they are unless some external force changes them.Some nuclides have very long half-lives, measured in billions or even trillions of years.Others have extremely short half-lives, measured in tenths or hundredths of a second.

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In alpha decay, the radioactive atom emits an alpha particle.

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