Carbon dating notes
Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in 1949 and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.
Radiocarbon dating works by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon.
Isotopes of a particular element have the same number of protons in their nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons.
Many isotopes have been studied, probing a wide range of time scales.Explore our nation's historical legacy by accessing the Smithsonian's vast, rich, and varied archival collections.The primary sources of the Smithsonian document the history of art, culture, music, design, flight, space exploration, science and technology, landscapes and gardens, and native cultures in the United States, as well as the long history of the Smithsonian itself.Finding aids are essential research and discovery tools that will help you understand the content and context of an individual collection and whether that collection will satisfy your research needs.Historical artefacts like moa bones can be dated using a technique that measures the activity of the radioisotope carbon-14 still present in the sample.