Half-life is defined as the amount of time it takes a given quantity to decrease to half of its initial value. The term is most commonly used in relation to atoms undergoing radioactive decay, but can be used to describe other types of decay, whether exponential or not. One of the most well-known applications of half-life is carbon-14 dating. The half-life of carbon-14 is approximately 5,730 years, and it can be reliably used to measure dates up to around 50,000 years ago. The process of carbon-14 dating was developed by William Libby, and is based on the fact that carbon-14 is constantly being made in the atmosphere. It is incorporated into plants through photosynthesis, and then into animals when they consume plants. The carbon-14 undergoes radioactive decay once the plant or animal dies, and measuring the amount of carbon-14 in a sample conveys information about when the plant or animal died.