Radiocarbon dating history definition

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After the war he became very interested in peaceful applications of atomic science.He and two students first measured the "half-life" of radiocarbon.In the 1940s, scientists succeeded in finding out how long it takes for radiocarbon to disappear, or decay, from a sample of carbon from a dead plant or animal.Willard Libby, the principal scientist, had worked in the team making the nuclear bomb during World War 2, so he was an expert in nuclear and atomic chemistry.The half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half the radiocarbon in a sample of bone or shell or any carbon sample to disappear.Libby found that it took 5568 years for half the radiocarbon to decay.

In Nyerup's time, archaeologists could date the past only by using recorded histories, which in Europe were based mainly on the Egyptian calendar.Welcome to the K12 section of the Radiocarbon WEBinfo site.The aim here is to provide clear, understandable information relating to radiocarbon dating for the benefit of K12 students, as well as lay people who are not requiring detailed information about the method of radiocarbon dating itself.You can work out that after about 50 000 years of time, all the radiocarbon will have gone.Therefore, radiocarbon dating is not able to date anything older than 60 or 70 000 years old.

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