Carbon dating nuclear physics
So, we have a “clock” which starts ticking the moment something dies.Obviously, this works only for things which were once living.These highly energetic nuclear bullets wreak havoc on the atoms in the upper atmosphere: tearing electrons from their orbitals and setting them free, knocking neutrons and protons from the tight confines of the nucleus and setting them free, generating x-rays and gamma rays as they decelerate, and creating exotic particles like muons and pions directly from their excessive kinetic energy.These are also highly energetic and will ionize atoms, transmute nuclei, and generate x-rays themselves.Iowa State University physicists, left to right, Pieter Maris and James Vary have used supercomputing power to solve the puzzle of the long, slow decay of carbon-14.
The technique used is called carbon dating and in this lesson we will learn what this is and how it is used. Carbon dating, or radiocarbon dating, is a method used to date materials that once exchanged carbon dioxide with the atmosphere. In the late 1940s, an American physical chemist named Willard Libby first developed a method to measure radioactivity of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope.
In this case, it took about 30 million processor-hours on the Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.