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Different radioisotopes have different half-lives. However, with few exceptions, the only radioisotopes found in the natural world are those with long half-lives ranging from millions to billions of years.In 1947 the chemist Willard Frank Libby developed carbon-14 dating techniques leading to his Nobel Prize (1960). Carbon-14 dating is especially popular with anthropoligists seeking to date the age of bones. There are many other examples.In the medical sciences, radioisotopes with short half-lives decay so rapidly that detection - imaging - is difficult. At the same time, the quality of rapid decay may be highly desirable for both diagnosis and therapy, e.g., chemotherapy. Clearly this is an important research topic.
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