Radioactive carbon dating demonstration
Plasmas are used in television displays and in florescent lights, which use electricity to excite gas and create glowing plasma.In Rowe’s non-destructive method, an entire artifact goes into in a vacuum chamber with a plasma.
In fact, the first machine he and his Texas A&M colleagues built caught fire and was destroyed.
(Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)One of a kind Rowe won his Fryxell Award “based in his prominent role in developing methods for rock art dating and minimally-destructive dating of fragile organic artifacts,” as well as his scientific analysis, scholarship and student training, according to the SAA website. Rowe and two colleagues at Texas A&M’s Department of Chemistry built the first plasma dating machine in 1990 while exploring ways to extract organic carbon from pictograph samples.“Other people have been successful dating charcoal paintings,” Rowe explained.
“But, in the United States at least, most of the paintings are not charcoal.
Scientists at the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies use a Low Energy Plasma Radiocarbon Sampling device on a sample of gelatin at its lab near Santa Fe.
The machine is used to date artifacts by doing minimal damage to the sample. — The contraption he built looks a little like something you might see from “The Nutty Professor.”But Marvin Rowe is no nut.