Shortcomings of radiocarbon dating
Carbon-14 is made when cosmic rays enter the earth’s atmosphere and collide with nitrogen atoms.
The unattached carbon neutrons then combine with nitrogen-14 atoms to become carbon-14 (Nitrogen-14 neutron → Carbon-14 proton).
(Today, based on refined calculations/techniques the half-life rate of carbon-14 is generally considered to be 5,730 years) (Wheatley 20; De Young 20).
From the experimental results, Libby devised an apparatus to measure the amount of carbon-14 that had been lost and the amount that still remained in the substance.
Libby then continued his work on dating objects for which no dates had been established.
Scientists and scholars began to send him samples from all over the world to radiocarbon date.
His scientific work provided strong evidence that the last Ice Age in North America had covered the land as recently as 11,000 BCE years ago, not 25,000 years ago as most geologists previously believed (Libby 195).
All of these accomplishments and the inroads Libby made in dating the past employing carbon-14 dating earned him the Nobel Prize in 1960.
This carbon dioxide includes the stable, common isotope carbon-12 and also tiny amounts of radioactive carbon-14.
He planned to calculate the age of an object from the amount of carbon-14 left inside it after death.
To test the validity of his carbon-14 counting device and subsequent calculations, Libby tested many items that archaeologists had previously dated.
Although radiocarbon dating methods have improved tremendously, Libby’s overall methodology is still utilized and accepted as a dating technique.
It is based upon the fact that carbon-14 is a radioactive, unstable isotope of carbon-12 since its molecular composition has two more neutrons than protons.
Search for shortcomings of radiocarbon dating:
In 1948, while at the University of Chicago, he and his colleagues started experimenting with carbon-14 as a means for dating the past.