On radiocarbon dating

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Carbon 14 has a half-life of 5,780 years, and is continuously created in Earth's atmosphere through the interaction of nitrogen and gamma rays from outer space.Because atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained fairly constant.

"We know from atmospheric measurements over the last 50 years that radiocarbon levels vary through the year, and we also know that plants typically grow at different times in different parts of the Northern Hemisphere.Archaeologists now have new tools for studying the development of medieval villages and the transformation of the historical landscapes surrounding them. Radiocarbon dating is a key tool archaeologists use to determine the age of plants and objects made with organic material.But new research shows that commonly accepted radiocarbon dating standards ...In the late 1940s, American chemist Willard Libby developed a method for determining when the death of an organism had occurred.He first noted that the cells of all living things contain atoms taken in from the organism's environment, including carbon; all organic compounds contain carbon.

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