Since all atoms of the same element have the same number of protons, different nuclides of an element differ in the number of neutrons they contain.For example, hydrogen-1 and hydrogen-2 are both nuclides of the element hydrogen, but hydrogen-1's nucleus contains only a proton, while hydrogen-2's nucleus contains a proton and a neutron.Thus, an atom of carbon-14 (C14), atomic number 6, emits a beta particle and becomes an atom of nitrogen-14 (N14), atomic number 7.A third, very rare type of radioactive decay is called electron absorption.Some nuclides have very long half-lives, measured in billions or even trillions of years.
So, if we know how much of the nuclide was originally present, and how much there is now, we can easily calculate how long it would take for the missing amount to decay, and therefore how long its been since that particular sample was formed. We must know the original quantity of the parent nuclide in order to date our sample In order to do so, we need a nuclide thats part of a mineral compound. Because theres a basic law of chemistry that says "Chemical processes like those that form minerals cannot distinguish between different nuclides of the same element." They simply cant do it.
Protons and neutrons together are called nucleons, meaning particles that can appear in the atomic nucleus.
A nuclide of an element, also called an isotope of an element, is an atom of that element that has a specific number of nucleons.
Young-Earth creationists -- that is, creationists who believe that Earth is no more than 10,000 years old -- are fond of attacking radiometric dating methods as being full of inaccuracies and riddled with sources of error.
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.