Is radioactive dating an exact process
Although it may be seen as outdated, many labs still use Libby's half-life in order to stay consistent in publications and calculations within the laboratory.From the discovery of Carbon-14 to radiocarbon dating of fossils, we can see what an essential role Carbon has played and continues to play in our lives today.The formula for the fraction remaining is one-half raised to the power given by the number of years divided by the half-life (in other words raised to a power equal to the number of half-lives).If we knew the fraction of a radioactive element still remaining in a mineral, it would be a simple matter to calculate its age by the formula To determine the fraction still remaining, we must know both the amount now present and also the amount present when the mineral was formed.Thus, the Turin Shroud was made over a thousand years after the death of Jesus.The technique of radiocarbon dating was developed by Willard Libby and his colleagues at the University of Chicago in 1949.Contrary to creationist claims, it is possible to make that determination, as the following will explain: By way of background, all atoms of a given element have the same number of protons in the nucleus; however, the number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary.
Throughout the years measurement tools have become more technologically advanced allowing researchers to be more precise and we now use what is known as the Cambridge half-life of 5730 /- 40 years for Carbon-14.
The carbon-14 isotope would vanish from Earth's atmosphere in less than a million years were it not for the constant influx of cosmic rays interacting with molecules of nitrogen (NFigure 1: Diagram of the formation of carbon-14 (forward), the decay of carbon-14 (reverse).
Carbon-14 is constantly be generated in the atmosphere and cycled through the carbon and nitrogen cycles.
Before Radiocarbon dating was able to be discovered, someone had to find the existence of the C isotope.
In 1940 Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben at the University of California, Berkeley Radiation Laboratory did just that.
Using this hypothesis, the initial half-life he determined was 5568 give or take 30 years.