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Della Dumbaugh headshot

Della Dumbaugh, professor of mathematics, uses Carbon, Element 6, to teach the Calculus concept of Differential Equations.

“One of the most powerful tools students learn in Calculus is a ‘Differential Equation,’” said Dumbaugh. "These equations include a derivative and a derivative measures change. The key word for change in Calculus is 'rate.'"

An important differential equation models exponential decay, and, in particular, exponential decay that involves Carbon-14, which has a half-life of 5730 years.

"The long half-life of Carbon -14 makes it an excellent tool to measure the age of a very old object. We can use Carbon-14 exponential decay models to measure the age of, say, the items in King Tut’s tomb. The model can also be used to date a Monet or a Vermeer, although the older the painting the better," said Dumbaugh.

Contact

Contact Sunni Brown, assistant director of media and public relations, to connect with Della Dumbaugh today.
sbrown5@richmond.edu
804-289-8056