Interesting facts carbon dating

When an organism dies, it stops acquiring new carbon-14 atoms.

Given that the ratio of carbon-14 atoms to carbon-12 atoms in a living thing is a constant, one can determine the number of each in a sample of organic matter (using sensitive equipment to detect the amount of radiation remaining), and then do a little bit of math to determine how long it’s been since the organism expired.

Note: This is a “classic” Interesting Thing of the Day article from over 10 years ago.

It has not been edited recently, so it may contain broken links, outdated information, or other infelicities.

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Here are some interesting facts about carbon dating to note.

In the end of 1940s, Willard Libby developed the method of carbon dating.

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