First discovered in the 18th century, uranium is an element found everywhere on Earth, but mainly in trace quantities.In 1938, German physicists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann showed that uranium could be split into parts to yield energy.For each dating or chronological method there is a link in the box at right to take you to that section of this page.
However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.
These three kinds of radiation have very different properties in some respects but are all ionizing radiation–each is energetic enough to break chemical bonds, thereby possessing the ability to damage or destroy living cells.
Uranium-238, the most prevalent isotope in uranium ore, has a half-life of about 4.5 billion years; that is, half the atoms in any sample will decay in that amount of time.
This process, known as radioactive decay, generally results in the emission of alpha or beta particles from the nucleus.
It is often also accompanied by emission of gamma radiation, which is electromagnetic radiation, like X-rays.