The C14 method has been and continues to be applied and used in many, many different fields including hydrology, atmospheric science, oceanography, geology, palaeoclimatology, archaeology and biomedicine.
The job of a radiocarbon laboratory is to measure the remaining amounts of radiocarbon in a carbon sample.
This is very difficult and requires a lot of careful work to produce reliable dates.
The half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half the radiocarbon in a sample of bone or shell or any carbon sample to disappear.
Libby found that it took 5568 years for half the radiocarbon to decay.
Libby later received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960 for the radiocarbon discovery.
Today, there are over 130 radiocarbon dating laboratories around the world producing radiocarbon dates for the scientific community.During the period of a plant's life, the plant is taking in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, which is how the plant makes energy and grows.Animals eat plants, and some eat other animals in the food chain.After twice that time (about 11000 years), another half of that remaining amount will have disappeared.After another 5568 years, again another half will have disappeared.Eventually, a particle is emitted from the carbon 14 atom, and carbon 14 disappears.