Radiation used carbon dating
In 1960, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.
Measurements have shown that in recent history, radiocarbon levels have remained relatively constant in most of the biosphere due to the metabolic processes in living organisms and the relatively rapid turnover of carbonates in surface ocean waters.
Its presence in organic materials is the basis of the radiocarbon dating method pioneered by Willard Libby and colleagues (1949) to date archaeological, geological and hydrogeological samples.
Carbon-14 was discovered on February 27, 1940, by Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, California.
These are relatively low energies; the maximum distance traveled is estimated to be 22 cm in air and 0.27 mm in body tissue.
The fraction of the radiation transmitted through the dead skin layer is estimated to be 0.11.
Radiocarbon is also used to detect disturbance in natural ecosystems; for example, in peatland landscapes, radiocarbon can indicate that carbon which was previously stored in organic soils is being released due to land clearance or climate change.