Theory behind radiocarbon dating

In 1960, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.He demonstrated the accuracy of radiocarbon dating by accurately estimating the age of wood from a series of samples for which the age was known, including an ancient Egyptian royal barge dating from 1850 BCE.Radiocarbon dating (usually referred to simply as carbon-14 dating) is a radiometric dating method.

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Carbon-14 dating is a way of determining the age of certain archeological artifacts of a biological origin up to about 50,000 years old.

It is used in dating things such as bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers that were created in the relatively recent past by human activities.

The carbon-14 isotope would vanish from Earth's atmosphere in less than a million years were it not for the constant influx of cosmic rays interacting with molecules of nitrogen (NFigure 1: Diagram of the formation of carbon-14 (forward), the decay of carbon-14 (reverse).

Carbon-14 is constantly be generated in the atmosphere and cycled through the carbon and nitrogen cycles.

­ ­You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.

At an ar­chaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.

Emilio Segrè asserted in his autobiography that Enrico Fermi suggested the concept to Libby at a seminar in Chicago that year.

Libby estimated that the steady-state radioactivity concentration of exchangeable carbon-14 would be about 14 disintegrations per minute (dpm) per gram.

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