Who developed radiocarbon dating

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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source radiocarbon dating A technique for measuring the age of organic remains based on the rate of decay of carbon 14.

Because the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 present in all living organisms is the same, and because the decay rate of carbon 14 is constant, the length of time that has passed since an organism has died can be calculated by comparing the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in its remains to the known ratio in living organisms. Our Living Language : In the late 1940s, American chemist Willard Libby developed a method for determining when the death of an organism had occurred.

Measuring 14C To obtain the radiocarbon age of a sample it is necessary to determine the proportion of 14C it contains.

Originally this was done by what is known as “conventional” methods, either proportional gas counters or liquid scintillation counters.

Because this decay is constant it can be used as a “clock” to measure elapsed time assuming the starting amount is known.

A unique characteristic of 14C is that it is constantly formed in the atmosphere.

Production and decay 14C atoms are produced in the upper atmosphere where neutrons from cosmic rays knock a proton from nitrogen-14 atoms.

Hereafter these isotopes will be referred to as 12C, 13C, and 14C.

14C is radioactive and has a half-life of 5730 years.

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