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Posted by / 09-Sep-2020 13:36

Equation for carbon dating

Carbon-14 only works for things between 3 and 40 thousand years old. Carbon dating is based on an isotope of carbon, carbon 14, that's unstable. We breathe in carbon dioxide, we eat carbon, we take in carbon and so our bodies continually renewing our supply of carbon 14.

It decays with a half life of 5700 years into nitrogen 14 and electron and an electron antineutreno. So for that reason, every living thing that is interacting with its environment is expected to have this natural abundance of carbon 14. But when something dies, now it's not interacting with the environment anymore. We know that the amount at time t is equal to the initial amount times one half to the time over the half life, alright?

The ratio of Carbon-14 remaining indicates the times since the death of a living substance.

The process of carbon-14 dating was developed by William Libby, and is based on the fact that carbon-14 is constantly being made in the atmosphere.

It is incorporated into plants through photosynthesis, and then into animals when they consume plants.

If a fossil contains 60% of its original carbon, how old is the fossil? That means this is how long it takes for half the nuclei to decay.

After 5600 years, if we start with a gram, we end up with half a gram.

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This type of question is very important in science and it also provides an opportunity to study the very subtle question of how errors behave when applying a function: in some cases the errors can be magnified while in others they are lessened.