This activity reached its peak in the early 1960s when an atmospheric blast occurred somewhere on earth every two to three days.Nuclear bombs generate large numbers of high energy neutrons, which can in turn transmute nitrogen 14 into carbon 14 in exactly the same way as naturally occurring secondary cosmic rays.Fossil fuels are the remains of long dead plants that were buried in sediment tens to hundreds of millions of years ago (coal being made primarily from land plants and petroleum from plankton and algae). Drinking ethanol (which is usually just called alcohol) is made from the fermented sugars of plants (grains like barley, wheat, rye corn, or rice; fruits like grapes or apples; vegetables like sugarcane or agave; or the nectar of plants collected by bees called honey). The carbon in the ethanol that came from plants will be relatively rich in C are not.

A secondary cosmic ray neutron of sufficient energy striking a common nitrogen 14 nucleus can force it to eject a proton.

C like they absorb other isotopes of carbon — through the respiration of carbon dioxide — and then use this carbon to produce sugars, fats, proteins, and vitamins.

Carbon dating has given archeologists a more accurate method by which they can determine the age of ancient artifacts.

Libby invented carbon dating for which he received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1960.

There are several other dating techniques that rely on the principle of exponential decay and half-life.

The half-life of a radioactive substance is a characteristic constant. Immer wenn ein Lebewesen stirbt, beginnt eine Stoppuhr zu laufen.Die Wissenschaft kann diese Uhr ablesen und so das Alter eines Fundes ermitteln. Source unknown — possibly das Museum für Vor‑ und Frühgeschichte (the Museum for pre‑ and early history) in Berlin.Every time a living being dies a stopwatch starts ticking. is used to determine the age of previously living things based on the abundance of an unstable isotope of carbon.The isotopic distribution of carbon on the Earth is roughly 99% carbon 12 (with 6 protons and 6 neutrons) and 1% carbon 13 (with 6 protons and 7 neutrons).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.