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This work enabled Libby and postdoctoral associate James Arnold to publish a carbon-14 atomic calendar in the Dec. They documented the viability of the technique with this article, which compared the ages of samples of known age with the ages as determined by their radiocarbon content.The University announced Libby's results in a news release issued in connection with the article.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!The second edition of Libby's , published by the University of Chicago Press in 1955, lists 27 pages of objects for which he had obtained radiocarbon dates before the fall of 1954."Libby's method remained the only way to measure carbon-14 in samples for several decades and was long considered the most accurate means of dating by carbon decay," said David Mazziotti, a UChicago chemistry professor who submitted the formal nomination of the site as a historic chemical landmark to the American Chemical Society.
The society will officially recognize the achievement at 4 p.m. 10, with the unveiling of a plaque in the foyer of the Kent Chemical Laboratory building at 1020 E. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Libby's first publication on radiocarbon dating, which appeared in the June 1, 1946 issue of .
By this means, scientists may date objects as much as 50,000 years old.
Minute radioactivity levels With his first graduate student, Ernest Anderson, and others, Libby determined that the expected minute level of radioactivity in organic material actually existed.
Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years—, half the amount of the radioisotope present at any given time will undergo spontaneous disintegration during the succeeding 5,730 years. It has proved to be a versatile technique of dating fossils and archaeological specimens from 500 to 50,000 years old.
Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon. The method is widely used by Pleistocene geologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and investigators in related fields.
As you learned in the previous page, carbon dating uses the half-life of Carbon-14 to find the approximate age of certain objects that are 40,000 years old or younger.