Carbon dating decay curve

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In the case of the Dead Sea scrolls, important questions required answers. Did they really date from around the time of Christ? Using Libby's radiocarbon dating technique, the scrolls have been dated, using the linen coverings the scrolls were wrapped in.

One scroll, the Book of Isaiah, has been dated at 1917BC ±275 years, certainly long before the time of Christ.

Suppose a linen sample of 1 gram is analysed in a counter.

The activity is measured at approximately 11.9 decays per minute.

In the previous article, we saw that light attenuation obeys an exponential law.

To show this, we needed to make one critical assumption: that for a thin enough slice of matter, the proportion of light getting through the slice was proportional to the thickness of the slice.

This question can be answered using a little bit of calculus. Once we have an expression for t, a "definite integral" will give us the mean value of t (this is how "mean value" is defined).

Plotting t against F with a value of l=1 gives the graph on the right. The equivalent thickness for the medium in radiation attenuation is known as "half-value thickness".

He graduated in 1977 with a BSc Honours in Applied Physics from the University of Lancaster, and obtained an MSc in Medical Physics from the University of Leeds in 1987.

He is interested in various theoretical aspects of radiation and radiological physics, with an interest in mathematical modelling in general.

Current research involves a theoretical description of X-ray beam spectra.

Carbon dating has given archeologists a more accurate method by which they can determine the age of ancient artifacts.

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