It is not uncommon for a cosmic ray to collide with an atom in the atmosphere, creating a secondary cosmic ray in the form of an energetic neutron, and for these energetic neutrons to collide with nitrogen atoms.When the neutron collides, a nitrogen-14 (seven protons, seven neutrons) atom turns into a carbon-14 atom (six protons, eight neutrons) and a hydrogen atom (one proton, zero neutrons).The carbon-14 atoms that cosmic rays create combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which plants absorb naturally and incorporate into plant fibers by photosynthesis.Animals and people eat plants and take in carbon-14 as well.Now imagine repeating this process for quite some time.If you take a sample of the diluted water and measure the concentration of blue dye, you will be able to determine how many dilutions took place, and since you know the dilutions happen every 5,568 years, you can estimate how old the sample is. Answer Carbon-14 builds up in living tissue at a constant rate and starts to break down when the tissue dies.
No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.
Radiocarbon dating is essentially a method designed to measure residual radioactivity.
By knowing how much carbon 14 is left in a sample, the age of the organism when it died can be known.
Scientists can measure the amount of carbon-14 in a piece of old wood for instance, and say that because there is only a certain amount left, the tree died 1000 years ago.
An age could be estimated by measuring the amount of carbon-14 present in the sample and comparing this against an internationally used reference standard.