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Using the decays of uranium and thorium, our galaxy has been found to be between 10 and 20 billion years old and the earth has been found to be 4.6 billion years old. Within experimental error, this estimate agrees with the 15 billion year estimate of the age of the Universe.

These techniques are made possible by sensitive electronic instruments developed in the late twentieth century. A computer program for radiocarbon age calibration.

The Beta-counting method detects the rate at which purified carbon decays. A rate of 7 decays/gram/minute would indicate an age of one half-life, or 5730 years old.

3.5 decays/gram/minute of carbon would be produced by a sample 11,460 years old.

Carbon atoms are incorporated into plant tissue (by photosynthesis) then into animal tissue (by ingestion) in nearly the same ratio as in the atmosphere. The Earth's magnetic field, its history, origin and planetary perspective.

The ratios are consistent among species, and the slight (1-3%) differences can also be calculated from the ratio of C) decreases as the radiocarbon decays. Libby determined, one gram of pure carbon should produce about 14 (13.56) radioactive decays per minute.

The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.

Many isotopes have been studied, probing a wide range of time scales.

C and counting the amount of each) allows one to date the death of the once-living things.

In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.

This half life is a relatively small number, which means that carbon 14 dating is not particularly helpful for very recent deaths and deaths more than 50,000 years ago.

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The rate of bombardment is greatest near the poles, where the Earth's magnetic field is dipping into the Earth and therefore does not deflect incoming cosmic rays.

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