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Can radiocarbon dating

The half-life () is the name given to this value which Libby measured at 556830 years. After 10 half-lives, there is a very small amount of radioactive carbon present in a sample.

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The decay can be shown: Thus, the 14C decays back to 14N.Libby and his team intially tested the radiocarbon method on samples from prehistoric Egypt.They chose samples whose age could be independently determined.Libby later received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960: (From Taylor, 1987).Today, there are over 130 radiocarbon dating laboratories around the world producing radiocarbon assays for the scientific community.A sample of acacia wood from the tomb of the pharoah Zoser (or Djoser; 3rd Dynasty, ca. Libby reasoned that since the half-life of C years, they should obtain a C14 concentration of about 50% that which was found in living wood (see Libby, 1949 for further details).

The results they obtained indicated this was the case.

The radiocarbon method was developed by a team of scientists led by the late Professor Willard F.

Libby of the University of Chicago in immediate post-WW2 years.

These isotopes are present in the following amounts C12 - 98.89%, C13 - 1.11% and C14 - 0.00000000010%.

Thus, one carbon 14 atom exists in nature for every 1,000,000,000,000 C12 atoms in living material.

Nyerup's words illustrate poignantly the critical power and importance of dating; to order time.