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The radioactive isotope carbon-14 is created in the upper atmosphere when cosmic-ray particles from outer space strike nitrogen atoms and transform them into radioactive carbon.
Forensic anthropologists at The University of Arizona took advantage of this fact in a recent study funded by NIJ.
After a creature's death the isotope would slowly decay away over millennia at a fixed rate.
Thus the less of it that remained in an object, in proportion to normal carbon, the older the object was.
The prodigious mobilization of science that produced nuclear weapons was so far-reaching that it revolutionized even the study of ancient climates.
Nuclear laboratories, awash with funds and prestige, spun off the discovery of an amazing new technique radiocarbon dating.
Lab manager Dr Christine Prior already has bad news for another client – an art authenticator in Hong Kong.