# Is radioactive dating an exact process

Once an organism is decoupled from these cycles (i.e., death), then the carbon-14 decays until essentially gone.

The half-life of a radioactive isotope (usually denoted by $$t_$$) is a more familiar concept than $$k$$ for radioactivity, so although Equation $$\ref$$ is expressed in terms of $$k$$, it is more usual to quote the value of $$t_$$.

In 1960, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.

He demonstrated the accuracy of radiocarbon dating by accurately estimating the age of wood from a series of samples for which the age was known, including an ancient Egyptian royal barge dating from 1850 BCE.

Using this hypothesis, the initial half-life he determined was 5568 give or take 30 years.

An atom with the same number of protons in the nucleus but a different number of neutrons is called an isotope.

From that point on, scientist have used these techniques to examine fossils, rocks, and ocean currents and determine age and event timing.

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.

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