Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon , a radioactive isotope of carbon.A form of radiometric dating that relies on the 5730-year half-life of radioactive carbon-14, which decays into nitrogen-14, to determine the age of rocks in which carbon-14 is present.It is rapidly oxidized in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the global carbon cycle.Plants and animals assimilate carbon 14 from carbon dioxide throughout their lifetimes.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.Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.Archaeology and other human sciences use radiocarbon dating to prove or disprove theories.
American physical chemist Willard Libby led a team of scientists in the post World War II era to develop a method that measures radiocarbon activity.
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?
Carbon has different isotopes, which are usually not radioactive; C is the radioactive one, its half-life, or time it takes to radioactively decay to one half its original amount, is about 5,730 years.
The relatively short-lived C taken into organic matter is also slightly variable. However, under about 20,000 years the results can be compared with dendrochronology, based on tree rings.