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A detailed description of radiocarbon dating is available at the Wikipedia radiocarbon dating web page.
Bottom line: Radiocarbon dating is a technique used by scientists to learn the ages of biological specimens from the distant past.
The unstable Carbon-14 within the organism begins to decay to form Nitrogen-14 by emitting a beta particle.
It’s not absolutely constant due to several variables that affect the levels of cosmic rays reaching the atmosphere, such as the fluctuating strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, solar cycles that influence the amount of cosmic rays entering the solar system, climatic changes and human activities.
Among the significant events that caused a temporary but significant spike in the atmospheric carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio were above-ground nuclear test detonations in the two decades following World War II.
If you ever wondered why nuclear tests are now performed underground, this is why.
Most radiocarbon dating today is done using an accelerator mass spectrometer, an instrument that directly counts the numbers of carbon-14 and carbon-12 in a sample.
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The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.
Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.
Radiocarbon or Carbon-14 dating is a technique used by scientist to date bones, wood, paper and cloth. It is produced in the Earth’s upper atmosphere when Nitrogen-14 is broken down to form the unstable Carbon-14 by the action of cosmic rays.
The unstable Carbon-14 is transported down to the lower atmosphere by atmospheric activity such as storms.
is a term for radiocarbon dating based on timestamps left by above-ground nuclear explosions, and it is especially useful for putting an absolute age on organisms that lived through those events.