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He was employed at Caltech's Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences at the time of writing the first edition.He is presently employed in the Space & Atmospheric Sciences Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.The rate of decay (given the symbol λ) is the fraction of the 'parent' atoms that decay in unit time.
His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.His result was in close agreement with his estimate of the age of the earth.The solar estimate was based on the idea that the energy supply for the solar radioactive flux is gravitational contraction."In a billion years [from now], it seems, intelligent life might be as different from humans as humans are from insects . To change from a human being to a cloud may seem a big order, but it's the kind of change you'd expect over billions of years." Freeman Dyson, Statement made in 1986, quoted in Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations, p. [American mathematician.]"Slowness has really nothing to do with the question.An event is not any more intrinsically intelligible or unintelligible because of the pace at which it moves.
Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.