Bozeman radiocarbon dating

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Andersen explains how carbon dating can be used to date ancient material. The half-life of radioactive carbon into nitrogen is also discussed. This is Mr. Radiocarbon dating is a way that we use carbon and the amount of carbon 14 left in an object to figure out how old that object is. So if we find for example a piece of wood that we think was used by ancient humans, we want to figure out how long ago that was, we can use radiocarbon dating to do that.

Before we talk about that we should probably talk about what carbon 14 is. There are three types of carbon that we have on our planet. One percent of the carbon in the atmosphere however is going to be carbon Both of these are stable. And what happens is that nitrogen is hit with cosmic rays from space. And nitrogen is converted to carbon And it will decay. In other words it has a tendency to give off beta particles.

And as it does that it turns back into nitrogen. And so what we can do is measure the amount of carbon 14 in something. And it tells us how old it is. The carbon eventually goes into the macromolecules that make us up. But before that it was in the atmosphere. And so before we get too into that let me kind of talk about how food gets into you. And so if we look at the atmosphere, atmosphere is made up of a bunch carbon dioxide. And so this has two oxygens. And most of this carbon out here is going to be run of the mill carbon So it has those extra neutrons.

And so we called this an isotope of carbon. And it has a tendency to decay. And so how does that actually get into our body? Well the first thing that happens is that plants are going to take in that carbon and they do that through a process called photosynthesis. The sugar is used by the plant to build itself.

What we care about is actually getting that sugar inside our body. And so what I like to eat is something called Oatmeal Squares for breakfast. And so that carbon that was in the atmosphere, carbon 14, eventually ends up in my Oatmeal Squares and eventually ends up in my mouth and eventually ends up inside my body.

As long as I keep eating. And so as long as I keep eating, that ratio of carbon 14 to regular carbon 12 is going to be the same over time. And years later a scientist finds a part of me and wants to figure out, well I wonder how long ago it was that this science teacher met his doom. Well he or she can figure that out using carbon 14 dating.

So how does that actually work? First of all you would have to take the bones of Mr. Andersen into the lab. At time 0 the amount of carbon 14 that I would have would be percent of the amount of carbon But that carbon 14 is going to decay over time. And so carbon 14 looks like this. And those beta particles could be measured as hitting the sides of this pretend sensor that I have here. Now we know a little bit about the amount of time it takes. And so if I were to take a newly deceased or newly dead body into my theoretical lab here.

And if I was getting 15 beta particles per minute, we would know that that is 0 years old. But if we were to look at it years later, scientists have found that it would give off 7. In other words it would give off half the amount of carbon 14 particles that were in there before. And that would continue to drop off and drop off. So this drops down to 25 percent. And so you can imagine that I could create, this is going to be tough to get it good, a best fit line or a trend line of this data.

Well we could just read down here. And so we have to use a different isotope to measure it at that point. Now you maybe asking yourself how do we know that this is accurate? Well what you would need to find is find objects that are old but we know exactly how old they are. And then they handed it to scientists and scientists using radiocarbon dating figure out how old this is. And so they figured out how old it was. They were able to then go back in the written record and show that those data are going to match up. One caveat to that is this. If you look right here, this was puzzling to me the first time I saw it.

And so this is through But what you see is that we see a peak of that coming right after the s. Yeah the northern hemisphere. This would be like in Austria then it is in the southern hemisphere. And so the reason why is that humans started doing nuclear weapons testing. And so as we did that we actually increased the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere.

And so one thing you should remember is that everything is measured with carbon 14 dating before He is an experienced educator having taught science in Montana for 20 years. Andersen was the Montana Teacher of the Year, and was also one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year. Andersen has provided training for thousands of students, teachers, administrators, and professors around the world. His specialties include the Next Generation Science Standards, educational technology, the flipped classroom, and effective classroom de.

He enjoys providing meaningful professional development that can be applied immediately in the classroom. In addition to his work as a trainer, Andersen is an accomplished keynote speaker. When he is not working he enjoys spending time with family skiing and hiking in the mountains of Montana. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. First Name Last Name. Friend's Address. Your Name.

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Bozeman radiocarbon dating

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