Problem: The half-life for the radioactive decay of U-238 is 4.5 billion years and is independent of initial concentration.If a sample of U-238 initially contained 1.6×1018 atoms when the universe was formed 13.8 billion years ago, how many U-238 atoms will it contain today?

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We’re being asked to determine how many U-238 atoms will a sample of U-238 contain today if it initially contained 1.6 x 1018 atoms when the universe formed 13.8 billion years ago. 

The half-life of U-238 is 4.5 billion years.


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Problem Details

The half-life for the radioactive decay of U-238 is 4.5 billion years and is independent of initial concentration.

If a sample of U-238 initially contained 1.6×1018 atoms when the universe was formed 13.8 billion years ago, how many U-238 atoms will it contain today?

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the First Order Half Life concept. You can view video lessons to learn First Order Half Life. Or if you need more First Order Half Life practice, you can also practice First Order Half Life practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Fadeeva's class at RUTGERS.