Radioactive isotopes in carbon dating

Theoretically, if one could detect the amount of carbon-14 in an object, one could establish that object’s age using the half-life, or rate of decay, of the isotope.In 1946, Libby proposed this groundbreaking idea in the journal Physical Review.is a technique used by scientists to learn the ages of biological specimens – for example, wooden archaeological artifacts or ancient human remains – from the distant past.It can be used on objects as old as about 62,000 years.Follow the links below to learn more about radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon dating uses carbon isotopes A special kind of radiocarbon dating: Bomb radiocarbon dating What is an isotope?To understand radiocarbon dating, you first have to understand the word Although an element’s number of protons cannot change, the number of neutrons can vary slightly from each atom.Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in 1949 and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.

He was inspired by physicist Serge Korff (1906–1989) of New York University, who in 1939 discovered that neutrons were produced during the bombardment of the atmosphere by cosmic rays.

The technique of comparing the abundance ratio of a radioactive isotope to a reference isotope to determine the age of a material is called radioactive dating.

Many isotopes have been studied, probing a wide range of time scales.

The man's body was recovered and pieces of tissue were studied for their C content by accelerator mass spectroscopy.

The best estimate from this dating technique says the man lived between 33 BC. From the ratio, the time since the formation of the rock can be calculated.