Carbon dating nuclear physics
The team focused on an easy-to-calculate orbital in the nuclear shells of carbon-14 and nitrogen-14 into which it decays.They found that their calculations for the decay of carbon-14 matched experimental values.Scientists call that time its "half-life."Living things constantly replenish the carbon in their bodies, animals from food, plants from the atmosphere, but after death, that process stops.The amount of carbon-12 stays the same, but the carbon-14 decays away, at a constant rate, making carbon-14 a ticking atomic clock. From this science, we are able to approximate the date at which the organism were living on Earth.Radiocarbon dating is used in many fields to learn information about the past conditions of organisms and the environments present on Earth.
While oxygen-14 has a half-life of around 70 seconds, the half-life of carbon-14 is 5,730 years.
C and counting the amount of each) allows one to date the death of the once-living things.
Perhaps you have heard of Ice Man, a man living in the Alps who died and was entombed in glacial ice until recently when the ice moved and melted.
The technique of comparing the abundance ratio of a radioactive isotope to a reference isotope to determine the age of a material is called radioactive dating.
Many isotopes have been studied, probing a wide range of time scales.
“It’s really just a coincidence that the carbon-14 happens to be really sensitive to these changes,” says Holt.