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 at the University of Chicago 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.
By: Marshall Brain. A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2, years ago. How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are? What methods do they use and how do these methods work? In this article, we will examine the methods by which scientists use radioactivity to determine the age of objects, most notably carbon dating.
The Shroud of Turin , a linen cloth that tradition associates with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus , has undergone numerous scientific tests, the most notable of which is radiocarbon dating , in an attempt to determine the relic 's authenticity. In , scientists at three separate laboratories dated samples from the Shroud to a range of — AD, which coincides with the first certain appearance of the shroud in the s and is much later than the burial of Jesus in 30 or 33 AD. The idea of scientifically dating the shroud had first been proposed in the s, but permission had been refused because the procedure at the time would have required the destruction of too much fabric almost 0.
Question: "Is carbon dating a reliable method for determining the age of things? Several factors affect radiocarbon test results, not all of which are easy to control objectively. Carbon dating is reliable within certain parameters but certainly not infallible. When testing an object using radiocarbon dating, several factors have to be considered: First, carbon dating only works on matter that was once alive, and it only determines the approximate date of death for that sample. For example, a steel spearhead cannot be carbon dated, so archaeologists might perform testing on the wooden shaft it was attached to.