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

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • cybersecurity

    Cybersecurity is the protection of internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and data, from cyberattacks.

  • asymmetric cryptography (public key cryptography)

    Asymmetric cryptography, also called public key cryptography, uses a pair of numerical keys that are mathematically related to ...

  • digital signature

    A digital signature is a mathematical technique used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a message, software or digital...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • 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. 

SearchStorage

  • hard disk drive (HDD)

    A computer hard disk drive (HDD) is a non-volatile memory hardware device that controls the positioning, reading and writing of ...

  • byte

    In most computer systems, a byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long. Bytes are often used to represent a ...

  • network-attached storage (NAS)

    Network-attached storage (NAS) is dedicated file storage that enables multiple users and heterogeneous client devices to retrieve...

Close