The half-life of an isotope like C14 is the time it takes for half of it to decay away: in C14, every 5,730 years, half of it is gone.So, if you measure the amount of C14 in a dead organism, you can figure out how long ago it stopped exchanging carbon with its atmosphere.These newly formed 14C atoms rapidly oxidize to form 14CO..Photosynthesis incorporates 14C into plants and therefore animals that eat the plants.The half-life is the time taken for an amount of a radioactive isotope to decay to half its original value.
14C is radioactive and has a half-life of 5730 years.
Radiocarbon dating was invented in the 1950s by the American chemist Willard F.
Libby and a few of his students at the University of Chicago: in 1960, he won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention.
Radiocarbon dating is one of the best known archaeological dating techniques available to scientists, and the many people in the general public have at least heard of it.
But there are many misconceptions about how radiocarbon works and how reliable a technique it is.
It was the first absolute scientific method ever invented: that is to say, the technique was the first to allow a researcher to determine how long ago an organic object died, whether it is in context or not.