In 1946, Willard Libby proposed an innovative method for dating organic materials by measuring their content of carbon-14, a newly discovered radioactive isotope of carbon. Known as radiocarbon dating, this method provides objective age estimates for carbon-based objects that originated from living organisms.
Who came up with carbon dating?
Willard Libby Radiocarbon dating/Inventors Professor Willard Libby, a chemist at the University of Chicago, first proposed the idea of radiocarbon dating in 1946. Three years later, Libby proved his hypothesis correct when he accurately dated a series of objects with already-known ages.
What is wrong with carbon dating?
The group theorizes that large errors in carbon dating result from fluctuations in the amount of carbon 14 in the air. Carbon dating is unreliable for objects older than about 30,000 years, but uranium-thorium dating may be possible for objects up to half a million years old, Dr. Zindler said.