Seventy years ago, American chemist Willard Libby devised an ingenious method for dating organic materials. His technique, known as carbon dating, revolutionized the field of archaeology. Now researchers could accurately calculate the age of any object made of organic materials by observing how much of a certain form of carbon remained, and then calculating backwards to determine when the plant or animal that the material came from had died. An isotope is a form of an element with a certain number of neutrons, which are the subatomic particles found in the nucleus of an atom that have no charge. While the number of protons and electrons in an atom determine what element it is, the number of neutrons can vary widely between different atoms of the same element.
British Broadcasting Corporation Home. Radio carbon dating determines the age of ancient objects by means of measuring the amount of carbon there is left in an object. Inhe won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. This is now the most widely used method of age estimation in the field of archaeology. Certain chemical elements have more than one type of atom.
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