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Scientists were also able to use radiocarbon dating to show that the age of a mummified body found in the ice of the Alps was 5,300 y. In 1989, several groups of scientists used carbon-14 dating to demonstrate that the age of the Shroud of Turin was only 600–700 y.
Many people still cling to a different notion, despite the scientific evidence.
One example of a diagnostic application is using radioactive iodine-131 to test for thyroid activity (Figure \(\Page Index\)).
(Recall that tritium, H, is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.) Tracers can also be used to follow the steps of a complex chemical reaction.The half-life of radioactive isotopes is unaffected by any environmental factors, so the isotope acts like an internal clock.For example, if a rock is analyzed and is found to contain a certain amount of uranium-235 and a certain amount of its daughter isotope, we can conclude that a certain fraction of the original uranium-235 has radioactively decayed.We know these steps because researchers followed the progress of the radioactive carbon-14 throughout the process.Radioactive isotopes are useful for establishing the ages of various objects.
Radioactive isotopes have a variety of applications.