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Thread: Couple of Questions [about Through the Wormhole]

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Couple of Questions [about Through the Wormhole]

    This comes from watching a recent episode of Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.
    In it one of the things Mr. Freeman brings up is the affect of solar flares on radioactive decay.
    Since I interact with Creationists of various stripes on a daily basis I'm sure this will come up, so I want to try to nip this on the bud and can't seem to find something about it on Google.

    What affect does this have on tools like radiometric dating?

    I have several questions regarding the quantum physics discussed in the program, as it would introduce the concepts and then jump to the next theory.
    One of my chief interests from it was the experiment involving the silicone drop, and it replicating observed patterns at the quantum level.
    How relevant was this? The episode kept introducing "everyday renegades against the mainstream" and well... I have a healthy skepticism when programs do that.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    United Kingdom
    Solar activity affects the amount of C-14 produced - so something produced in an active environment could look younger or something produced in a less active regime could look older. But it is a non-issue - we can use ratios of other isotopes with longer half lives to establish solar activity. Be-10 is a useful one. The amount of variation due to flares is generally subsumed into the general 'solar activity' link to C-14 production.

    Solar wind is the dominant force as it affects our magnetosphere - more wind = less C-14. We can measure activity and correct for it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    And the decay itself is unaffected, half-lives are constant.
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

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