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Uses of Radiocarbon Dating Climate science required the invention and mastery of many difficult techniques. These had pitfalls, which could lead to controversy. An example of the ingenious technical work and hard-fought debates underlying the main story is the use of radioactive carbon to assign dates to the distant past. The prodigious mobilization of science that produced nuclear weapons was so far-reaching that it revolutionized even the study of ancient climates. The radioactive isotope carbon is created in the upper atmosphere when cosmic-ray particles from outer space strike nitrogen atoms and transform them into radioactive carbon. Some of the carbon might find its way into living creatures. After a creature's death the isotope would slowly decay away over millennia at a fixed rate. Thus the less of it that remained in an object, in proportion to normal carbon, the older the object was. By , Willard Libby and his group at the University of Chicago had worked out ways to measure this proportion precisely.
It is used in Radiocarbon dating of an object. As you may know, most of the, if not all, objects that we see around us are made of carbon compounds. For example, plastic, stones, plants, animals and so on. These Carbon atoms are C i. Now with time, these Carbon atoms, due to very little radioactivity, change into C, the speed of the reaction being very very slow.
Applications of Radiocarbon Dating Method
Radiocarbon dating also referred to as carbon dating or carbon 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. The method was developed in the late s by Willard Libby , who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in It is based on the fact that radiocarbon 14 C is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen. The resulting 14 C combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide , which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis ; animals then acquire 14 C by eating the plants. When the animal or plant dies, it stops exchanging carbon with its environment, and from that point onwards the amount of 14 C it contains begins to decrease as the 14 C undergoes radioactive decay.