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Carbon-14 is constantly be generated in the atmosphere and cycled through the carbon and nitrogen cycles.

Once an organism is decoupled from these cycles (i.e., death), then the carbon-14 decays until essentially gone.

It uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 (14C) to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years old. Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life of 5,730 years, meaning that the fraction of carbon-14 in a sample is halved over the course of 5,730 years due to radioactive decay to nitrogen-14.

The carbon-14 isotope would vanish from Earth's atmosphere in less than a million years were it not for the constant influx of cosmic rays interacting with molecules of nitrogen (NFigure 1: Diagram of the formation of carbon-14 (forward), the decay of carbon-14 (reverse).

Throughout the years measurement tools have become more technologically advanced allowing researchers to be more precise and we now use what is known as the Cambridge half-life of 5730 /- 40 years for Carbon-14.

Although it may be seen as outdated, many labs still use Libby's half-life in order to stay consistent in publications and calculations within the laboratory.

The technique of radiocarbon dating was developed by Willard Libby and his colleagues at the University of Chicago in 1949.

Thus, the Turin Shroud was made over a thousand years after the death of Jesus.

Using this finding Willard Libby and his team at the University of Chicago proposed that Carbon-14 was unstable and underwent a total of 14 disintegrations per minute per gram.

Using this hypothesis, the initial half-life he determined was 5568 give or take 30 years.

The accuracy of this proposal was proven by dating a piece of wood from an Ancient Egyptian barge, of whose age was already known.

From that point on, scientist have used these techniques to examine fossils, rocks, and ocean currents and determine age and event timing.

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