Carbon-14 was discovered on February 27, 1940, by Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, California.
Its existence had been suggested by Franz Kurie in 1934.
Libby estimated that the radioactivity of exchangeable carbon-14 would be about 14 disintegrations per minute (dpm) per gram of pure carbon, and this is still used as the activity of the modern radiocarbon standard.
In 1960, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.
It is typically released to the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide at BWRs, and methane at PWRs., radioactive carbon dioxide.
The gas mixes rapidly and becomes evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere (the mixing timescale in the order of weeks).
C), or radiocarbon, is a radioactive isotope of carbon with an atomic nucleus containing 6 protons and 8 neutrons.
Its presence in organic materials is the basis of the radiocarbon dating method pioneered by Willard Libby and colleagues (1949) to date archaeological, geological and hydrogeological samples.
These are relatively low energies; the maximum distance traveled is estimated to be 22 cm in air and 0.27 mm in body tissue.The rates of disintegration of potassium-40 and carbon-14 in the normal adult body are comparable (a few thousand disintegrated nuclei per second).This is small compared to the doses from potassium-40 (0.39 m Sv/year) and radon (variable).One of the frequent uses of the technique is to date organic remains from archaeological sites.Plants fix atmospheric carbon during photosynthesis, so the level of C level for the calculation can either be estimated, or else directly compared with known year-by-year data from tree-ring data (dendrochronology) up to 10,000 years ago (using overlapping data from live and dead trees in a given area), or else from cave deposits (speleothems), back to about 45,000 years before the present.