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You also need to know when you can or cannot apply a particular type of device to the task at hand; for example, if you want to know how hot it is on the inside of an active wood stove, you probably understand that putting a household thermometer intended to measure body temperature inside the stove is not going to prove helpful.Be aware also that for many centuries, most human "knowledge" of the age of rocks, formations such as the Grand Canyon, and everything else around you was predicated on the Genesis account of the Bible, which posits that the entire cosmos is perhaps 10,000 years old.If you want to know how old someone or something is, you can generally rely on some combination of simply asking questions or Googling to arrive at an accurate answer.This applies to everything from the age of a classmate to the number of years the United States has existed as a sovereign nation (243 and counting as of 2019).
You need a device to measure this activity (a thermometer, of which various kinds exist).Say a second friend who is aware of this arrangement visits and notices that your carton of ice cream contains 70 raisins and 10 chocolate chips.She declares, "I guess you went shopping about three days ago." How does she know this?This is because when radioactive elements first come into being, they are presumed to consist entirely of a single isotope.Imagine that you enjoy a certain kind of ice cream flavored with chocolate chips.
U-Pb dating is complex because of the two isotopes in play, but this property is also what makes it so precise.