In Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS), for example, the number of radiocarbon atoms in a stream of atoms coming from the sample is counted.Thus there are statistical counting uncertainties proportional to the square root of the number of atoms counted.A common misconception about radiocarbon dating is that it gives a precise date---3577 B. In actual practice radiocarbon dating can only give a range of dates for a given sample---3650 to 3410 B.

Measurements can be made with a high degree of precision. Aardsma submitted a sample from a reed mat known to be over 5,000 years old.

The measurement, before calibration, came back with an error bar of /- about 60 radiocarbon years. It should be noted that these measurement uncertainties do not increase linearly as one goes back in time.

One of the things that many of us grownups struggle with is uncertainty.

We can find it difficult to not know exactly what’s going to happen next.

Take the scenario with Harry* (the guy I did manage to date for a while). In retrospect, I wonder if I was so stunned we’d got this far (in my experience, the older you get, the harder it is), that I didn’t think more about our compatibility. But then we spoke on the phone, and I felt the uncertainty take hold. My instincts were telling me to run, to finish it right now – then I would at least know the outcome.

We met at what could have been an excruciating matchmaking day out (just us two and my friend and her husband) and yet, it wasn’t excruciating at all. We didn’t gel as much as I’d hoped; for example, I’m chatty, whereas he was comfortable with silences that made me break out in a sweat. ‘Also, men are rubbish on the phone; you should meet in person.’ And so we did, and it was nice, but slightly strained. Now most people would think, ‘of course I’m not sure, we’ve only been on one date! This, I have since discovered, is classic ‘fear of uncertainty’ behaviour, and if you’re a natural worrier, chances are you suffer from it, too.When we started on the Private Coaching, Jessica was despondent. I spent an entire session talking Jessica off the ledge, reminding her that this bad experience was no reason to quit, reassuring her that there are quality men just like her out there. This is not to say that you shouldn’t expect a ring after 2-3 years.For a cute, 32-year-old professional with no small amount of ego, Jessica found this very hard to believe. In fact, you should to 2-3 years, you have to allow him to fall in love with you organically.The start of relationships are ripe with the delicious elements of curiosity, the unknown, the mystery of meeting someone new, and the vulnerability of it all.Try keeping yourself open to a gradual unfolding of the many layers of a person. You may discover something you didn’t even know you were looking for.If you have zero curiosity, then you’re probably not in the right place.