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Published Carbon dating founded by Cambridge University Press: 13 March Today, the most powerful research technique available for asing chronometric age to human cultural objects is radiocarbon dating. Developed in the United States in the late s by an alumnus of the Manhattan Carbon dating founded, radiocarbon dating measures the decay of the radioactive isotope carbon C 14 in organic material, and calculates the time elapsed since the materials were removed from the life cycle.
This paper traces the interdisciplinary collaboration between archaeology and radiochemistry that led to the successful development of radiocarbon dating in the early s, following the movement of people and ideas from Willard Libby's Chicago radiocarbon laboratory to museums, universities and government labs in the United States, Australia, Denmark and New Zealand.
I show how radiocarbon research built on existing technologies and networks in atomic chemistry and physics but was deeply shaped by its original private philanthropic funders and archaeologist users, and ultimately remained to the side of many contemporaneous Cold War scientific and military projects. Marlowe points out pp. Radiocarbon was not produced commercially by the AEC, nor was it used in biomedical research, and its trajectory diverges ificantly from those of the radioisotopes discussed by Creager.
See especially the Introduction, and Chapters 4 and 6. S; Marlowe, op. See also LuciakIlja A. See also LibbyWillard F. Yale geologist Richard Foster Flint also assisted the committee and served as a liaison to the American Geological Society.
Libby to Frederick Johnson, 24 March ; W. These costs were separate from the start-up investments in a laboratory. See J. Green to Vice-Chancellor J. Unfortunately, Libby's description of his apparatus does not go into equivalent detail about the suppliers and exact makes and models of his electronic equipment.
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Radiocarbon helps date ancient objects—but it's not perfect