Start Who developed radiocarbon dating

Who developed radiocarbon dating

These newly formed 14C atoms rapidly oxidize to form 14CO..

While the lighter isotopes C has decayed that what remains can no longer be measured. In 5,730 years half of the C in the atmosphere, and therefore in plants and animals, has not always been constant.

The half-life of an isotope like C14 is the time it takes for half of it to decay away: in C14, every 5,730 years, half of it is gone.

So, if you measure the amount of C14 in a dead organism, you can figure out how long ago it stopped exchanging carbon with its atmosphere.

Radiocarbon dating was invented in the 1950s by the American chemist Willard F.

Libby and a few of his students at the University of Chicago: in 1960, he won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention.

Libby thus reasoned that by measuring carbon 14 levels in the remains of an organism that died long ago, one could estimate the time of its death.

This procedure of radiocarbon dating has been widely adopted and is considered accurate enough for practical use to study remains up to 50,000 years old.

Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in 1949 and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.