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Why should we care?

Ötzi is one example of how isotope science can be very useful, but as we mentioned earlier, even everyday materials such as our food can reveal important uses of isotopes. Open the Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry Learning Tool to explore more ways that isotopes can be useful.

The IRMS Learning tool discusses applications of isotopes to earth and planetary sciences and biological sciences, but there are many other fields where studying isotopes is invaluable, including industrial, medical, geochronological sciences, radioactive source production, and forensic/anthropological sciences.

Have you ever wondered how americium makes smoke detectors work, or how we use uranium to create nuclear power? Did you know that carbon isotopes can help law enforcement trace samples of illegal drugs, or that sulfur isotopes can help us study the habits and migration of birds? Open the IUPAC Periodic Table of the Elements and Isotopes Learning Tool, click on these elements. Select the 'more information' tab and explore the documents to learn the answers to these questions.

The applications within this applet provide a fantastic look at the ever-growing field of isotope applications. Continue to explore the applet to learn more about these fascinating advances in science.

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