Who invented the method of radioactive dating
Oakley (1979) suggested its development meant an almost complete re-writing of the evolution and cultural emergence of the human species.
Desmond Clark (1979) wrote that were it not for radiocarbon dating, "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation" (Clark, 1979:7).
Thus, one carbon 14 atom exists in nature for every 1,000,000,000,000 C12 atoms in living material.
The radiocarbon method is based on the rate of decay of the radioactive or unstable carbon isotope 14 (14C), which is formed in the upper atmosphere through the effect of cosmic ray neutrons upon nitrogen 14.
Radiocarbon dating has been one of the most significant discoveries in 20th century science.
Renfrew (1973) called it 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its impact upon the human sciences.
Plants and animals which utilise carbon in biological foodchains take up 14C during their lifetimes.
They exist in equilibrium with the C14 concentration of the atmosphere, that is, the numbers of C14 atoms and non-radioactive carbon atoms stays approximately the same over time.
There is a useful diagrammatic representation of this process given here Libby, Anderson and Arnold (1949) were the first to measure the rate of this decay.
Indeed, by doing almost 20 seconds of research on google (type in “variations in C14”, click on Google Scholar) the second link is this article from 1954: Carbon 13 in plants and the relationships between carbon 13 and carbon 14 variations in nature So, this issue has been known about for a long time. Then we compare the two and adjust the radiocarbon date to the known date. That’s less than 1% if you’re interested in that sort of thing. But this is already almost a thousand words and I’ve only done ONE! Long story short, scientists have always known that variations in C-14 concentration happen.
Do you honestly think that no one has done anything about it? By making thousands (if not millions) of these adjustments we get a very good idea of how old a piece of unknown material can be. The 2009 calibration set extends the ‘well calibrated range’ to 50,000 years using the varves in a Japanese lake. This is unlike the creationists which think it happened, but can’t be bothered to check.
The reaction is: (Where n is a neutron and p is a proton).
The 14C formed is rapidly oxidised to 14CO2 and enters the earth's plant and animal lifeways through photosynthesis and the food chain.