Radiocarbon dating also referred to as carbon dating or carbon dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon , a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed in the late s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby , who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in It is based on the fact that radiocarbon 14 C is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen. The resulting 14 C combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide , which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis ; animals then acquire 14 C by eating the plants. When the animal or plant dies, it stops exchanging carbon with its environment, and thereafter the amount of 14 C it contains begins to decrease as the 14 C undergoes radioactive decay.
As the province starts to loosen COVID related restrictions, the University of Ottawa has put in place a plan to gradually resume operations in its research laboratories. To maintain a safe and healthy environment for our personnel, lab capacity has been limited and processing times may be longer than usual. We thank you for your continued patience, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Please review our Water Sampling Protocol. Physical and chemical pre-treatments vary depending on the type of material and the depositional environment from which it came.
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The top priority in these uncertain times remains the health, safety and wellbeing of all members of our campus community. Due to safety precautions during this time, normal turn-around times may be longer than usual. We appreciate your patience and patronage. Founded by J. Noakes in , the Center for Applied Isotope Studies is one of the largest and most comprehensive radiocarbon and isotope geochemistry facilities in the world.