Carbon dating

29-Oct-2016 11:22

Calibrated C-14 dates correspond to true calendar years; standard C-14 dates do not.

In the scientific literature, calibrated dates are usually reported as cal A.

“Seldom has a single discovery in chemistry had such an impact on the thinking in so many fields of human endeavour,” one of Libby's colleagues wrote at the time, according to the Nobel Foundation.

Today, carbon dating is used so widely as to be taken for granted.

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

Each radioactive isotope decays by a fixed amount, and this amount is called the half-life.

Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon.

Which means scientists won’t be able to use carbon dating to distinguish between new materials and artifacts that are hundreds or thousands of years old.Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.

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