Speeding Up the Radioactive Decay of an Isotope


Browsing through magazines at Barnes & Nobel brought my attention to this article in NewScientist:   Half-life strife: Seasons change in the atom’s heart

The intro to the article on the NewScientist web site seems somewhat perplexed as it announces the article thus:

Nothing is supposed to speed up or slow down radioactive decay. So how come the sun seems to be messing with some of our elements?

Then the article itself:

“Jenkins sat up and took notice. This could be the answer to a puzzle he had stumbled across at work. Results from one of his experiments suggested that the sun was somehow speeding up the radioactive decay of an isotope he was studying – something that was not supposed …”

To continue reading this article, subscribe to receive access to all of newscientist.com, including 20 years of archive content.

Sorry about that, I would like to have you read the entire article. I did read it; but don’t despair, the stories are elsewhere as I will point out below.

So what was it about this article with such an obscure title that captured my attention  in a magazine I seldom traverse?

Well, as Darwinian coincidence and chance would have it, I had just come across a similar  finding and in fact blogged about it only yesterday in Marco Rubio and the Age of the Earth. The quote is as follows:

“All radioisotope dating methods assume (among other things) that the decay rate of a given isotope (an atomic nucleus with a given number of neutrons) is constant-that it has always been what it is today. Only if nuclear decay rates have always been constant can the method be used to estimate a reliable age. After all, a clock would not give the correct time if it were to dramatically speed up or slow down. The RATE researchers have uncovered several independent lines of evidence that strongly indicate that nuclear decay was much more rapid in the past.”

Well how about them Newtonian apples, main stream science perhaps discovering and providing collaboration to a tested theory from a young earth creationist? I did say “perhaps”, did you notice that? There has been a considerable pushback against the researchers finding the rate anomaly, and they are feeling the heat. ‘Welcome to the club’ the folks over at Institute for Creation Research (ICR) might be saying … ‘we’ve been feeling the heat since 1995 when we did our research on that very topic’. 

Read some snippets from various places:

The strange case of solar flares and radioactive elements from Stanford News:

It’s a mystery that presented itself unexpectedly: The radioactive decay of some elements sitting quietly in laboratories on Earth seemed to be influenced by activities inside the sun, 93 million miles away.

Is this possible?

. . .

The story begins, in a sense, in classrooms around the world, where students are taught that the rate of decay of a specific radioactive material is a constant. This concept is relied upon, for example, when anthropologists use carbon-14 to date ancient artifacts and when doctors determine the proper dose of radioactivity to treat a cancer patient.

And:  Purdue-Stanford team finds radioactive decay rates vary with the sun’s rotation  – from the Purdue University News Service:

The team has not yet examined isotopes used in medical radiation treatments or for dating of ancient artifacts.

Or how about this The mystery of the varying nuclear decay from the Institute of Physics:

It is well-known that a radioactive substance follows a fixed exponential decay, no matter what you do to it. The fact has been set in stone since 1930 when the “father” of nuclear physics Ernest Rutherford, together with James Chadwick and Charles Ellis, concluded in their definitive Radiations from Radioactive Substances that “the rate of transformation…is a constant under all conditions.”

But this is no longer the view of a pair of physicists in the US. Ephraim Fischbach and Jere Jenkins of Purdue University in Indiana are claiming that, far from being fixed, certain decay “constants” are influenced by the Sun. It is a claim that is drawing mixed reactions from others in the physics community, not least because it implies that decades of established science is flawed.

It seems to me an opportune time for the researchers at Stanford, Purdue and the Institute for Creation Research to get their heads together and dig further into this phenomena.

Why are these kinds of things important? Because our kids and grandkids are being taught that their parents and grandparents are ignorant idiots for believing in God and His creation. They are being indoctrinated with the idea they can’t go into any scientific career field if they have a belief in God; and now with the attacks  against Senator Rubio our kids are being indoctrinated with the idea that public service is out of the question unless they bow to the false gods of the professional  evolutionists …  Don’t believe me? Look for yourself at the kinds of attacks on believers of God and Creation.

Don Johnson – December 2012

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3 responses to “Speeding Up the Radioactive Decay of an Isotope

  1. One of your best!!

  2. Pingback: Who Made God? A Response From The Author | A Yearning for Publius

  3. Pingback: Maybe We Should Pay More Attention To The Bible … Part 5: Can we trust the Bible as truth? | A Yearning for Publius

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