The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.
Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.
Then I noticed how it had a wide arrange of allotropes, and that did it; I squirted in my pants." Indeed, carbon daters find all the chemical properties of carbon inherently arousing, though the specifics often differ; many prefer it in its diamond form, while others prefer the radioactive isotope of carbon-14, actually finding it sexually arousing to get radiation sickness and die.
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 resulting radiocarbon combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis; animals then acquire in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.
While carbon is present in most living things except for a few rare exceptions, carbon daters prefer not to have sex with this carbon as "It's just awkward." Instead, many are forced to go on long expeditions, digging into mountainsides, or looking under their grandparents' beds, in search of fossils which contain carbon.
However, finding a chunk of carbon is only the beginning.
By contrast, methane created from petroleum showed no radiocarbon activity because of its age.
The results were summarized in a paper in Science in 1947, in which the authors commented that their results implied it would be possible to date materials containing carbon of organic origin.
The development of radiocarbon dating has had a profound impact on archaeology.
In addition to permitting more accurate dating within archaeological sites than previous methods, it allows comparison of dates of events across great distances.
In 1939, Martin Kamen and Samuel Ruben of the Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley began experiments to determine if any of the elements common in organic matter had isotopes with half-lives long enough to be of value in biomedical research.
They synthesized Libby and several collaborators proceeded to experiment with methane collected from sewage works in Baltimore, and after isotopically enriching their samples they were able to demonstrate that they contained radioactive .
Once a piece of carbon is found, the dater usually talks to it for several weeks, starting with only saying one sentence or two, then backing off so as not to seem intimidating.