The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.Organisms at the base of the food chain that photosynthesize – for example, plants and algae – use the carbon in Earth’s atmosphere.They have the same ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 as the atmosphere, and this same ratio is then carried up the food chain all the way to apex predators, like sharks.Nyerup's words illustrate poignantly the critical power and importance of dating; to order time.
The idea behind radiocarbon dating is straightforward, but years of work were required to develop the technique to the point where accurate dates could be obtained.
They have masses of 13 and 14 respectively and are referred to as "carbon-13" and "carbon-14." If two atoms have equal numbers of protons but differing numbers of neutrons, one is said to be an "isotope" of the other.
Carbon-13 and carbon-14 are thus isotopes of carbon-12.
The radiocarbon method was developed by a team of scientists led by the late Professor Willard F.
Libby of the University of Chicago in immediate post-WW2 years.