Protons in carbon 14 dating

09 Feb

And each time we observe something farther away than anything we’ve seen before, we’re looking farther back into the past — closer to the Big Bang — than ever before.

The earliest thing we’ve ever been able to see — of course — is the Cosmic Microwave Background, or the leftover glow of radiation from the Big Bang.

Isotopes are atoms with the same number of protons and electrons, but a different number of neutrons. These are the elements that we see around us and find in nature. Radioactivity is measured using a unit called the "curie". The curie measures how many atoms spontaneously decay each second.

Scientists now know that most elements come in more than one version. When the dry periods ended and the water level rose, the trees drowned, marking the end of the droughts.

Since then, the remains of those trees have been well preserved by the arid climate. To determine how long ago these droughts occurred, Scott is using carbon-14 to date the trees.

The curie was named after Marie and Pierre Curie who discovered the element radium. The half-life of an isotope is the time on average that it takes for half of the atoms in a sample to decay.

For example, the half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years.