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Hereafter these isotopes will be referred to as 12C, 13C, and 14C.14C is radioactive and has a half-life of 5730 years.When a plant or animal dies it no longer exchanges CO with the atmosphere (ceases to take 14C into its being). 14C decays by emitting an electron, which converts a neutron to a proton, converting it back to its original 14N form.The History of Radiocarbon Dating Willard Libby invented radiocarbon dating in the late 1940s.MCI does not make any warranty, expressed or implied; does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information or process disclosed; nor represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights.If any organizations or other pertinent information has been inadvertently excluded please contact MCI.

Radiocarbon WEB-info Provides a large international listing of laboratories that do radiocarbon dating; information on radiocarbon dating; publications and references; and educational materials. The Smithsonian Institution, Museum Conservation Institute (MCI), gives no endorsements for any products, materials or services mentioned in this pamphlet and is not responsible for problems from their use or misuse.

Three isotopes of carbon are found in nature; carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.

Carbon-12 accounts for ~99.8 % of all carbon atoms, carbon-13 accounts for ~1% of carbon atoms while ~1 in every 1 billion carbon atoms is carbon-14.

Radiocarbon dating: radioactive carbon decays to nitrogen with a half-life of 5730 years.

In dead material, the decayed 14C is not replaced and its concentration in the object decreases slowly.

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