Start Where and by whom was the radiocarbon dating method developed

Where and by whom was the radiocarbon dating method developed

This technique works well for materials up to around 50,000 years old.

The half-life is always the same regardless of how many nuclei you have left, and this very useful property lies at the heart of radiocarbon dating. The graph below shows the decay curve (you may recognize it as an exponential decay) and it shows the amount, or percent, of carbon-14 remaining.

You will notice that after around 40,000 years (or 8 half-lives), the amount left is starting to become very small, less than 1%.

Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope and is present in all living things in a constant amount.

Because of the carbon cycle, there is always carbon-14 present in both the air and in living organisms.

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Radiocarbon dating has been used extensively since its discovery.

Examples of use include analyzing charcoal from prehistoric caves, ancient linen and wood, and mummified remains.

When it comes to dating archaeological samples, several timescale problems arise.

For example, Christian time counts the birth of Christ as the beginning, AD 1 (Anno Domini); everything that occurred before Christ is counted backwards from AD as BC (Before Christ).

Carbon dating was used routinely from the 1950s onward, and it confirmed the age of these historical remains.