Its presence in organic materials is the basis of the radiocarbon dating method pioneered by Willard Libby and colleagues (1949) to date archaeological, geological and hydrogeological samples.
Carbon-14 was discovered on February 27, 1940, by Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, California.
Small amounts of carbon-14 are not easily detected by typical Geiger–Müller (G-M) detectors; it is estimated that G-M detectors will not normally detect contamination of less than about 100,000 disintegrations per minute (0.05 µCi).
Carbon dating has given archeologists a more accurate method by which they can determine the age of ancient artifacts.
The carbon-14 decays with its half-life of 5,700 years, while the amount of carbon-12 remains constant in the sample.Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen.The use of various radioisotopes allows the dating of biological and geological samples with a high degree of accuracy.However, radioisotope dating may not work so well in the future.