Browse Definitions :
Definition

half-life

In science, a half-life (also, as a noun, spelled half life ) is the amount of time it takes for half of a substance or entity to undergo some specified process. For example, the half-life of a radioactive substance is the amount of time it takes for half of its atoms to decay, and the half-life of a drug is the amount of time it takes before half of the active elements are either eliminated or broken down by the body. Depending on the particular substance involved, a half-life may be significantly shorter or longer than half of the substance's full period of activity. The concept of a half-life has been adopted by fields outside of science, such as marketing and finance.

In marketing, half-life is a formula for estimating the total responses to be expected from a direct marketing campaign. The half-life of a catalog is the day when half of the consumer responses to the mailing have been received. Sears Canada studied the history of their sales data and found that their catalogs reached their half-life 20 days after being mailed, although the life of the catalog was actually several months. Knowing when a direct marketing campaign reaches the half-life point allows marketers to adapt more quickly to consumer demand.

In finance, the half-life of a mortgage is the date when half of the principal amount has been paid. Because of the way that interest is pro-rated (as a proportion of the total, paid more towards the first part of the life of the mortgage), the mortgage half-life date is generally more distant than the chronological half-way point in the total life of the mortgage.

This was last updated in January 2006

Continue Reading About half-life

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

    The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is legislation in the state of California that supports an individual's right to ...

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

SearchSecurity

  • BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708)

    BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708) is a vulnerability in the Remote Desktop (RDP) protocol that affects Windows 7, Windows XP, Server 2003 ...

  • endpoint detection and response (EDR)

    Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is a category of tools and technology used for protecting computer hardware devices–called ...

  • ransomware

    Ransomware is a subset of malware in which the data on a victim's computer is locked, typically by encryption, and payment is ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

  • business continuity software

    Business continuity software is an application or suite designed to make business continuity planning/business continuity ...

SearchStorage

  • blockchain storage

    Blockchain storage is a way of saving data in a decentralized network which utilizes the unused hard disk space of users across ...

  • disk mirroring (RAID 1)

    RAID 1 is one of the most common RAID levels and the most reliable. Data is written to two places simultaneously, so if one disk ...

  • RAID controller

    A RAID controller is a hardware device or software program used to manage hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs) in...

Close