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This new method was based on gas and liquid scintillation counting and these methods are still used today, having been demonstrated as more accurate than Libby's original method (3).Willard Libby would receive a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1960.It also has some applications in geology; its importance in dating organic materials cannot be underestimated enough.

if not carbon dating then what-14if not carbon dating then what-6if not carbon dating then what-44

The next big step in the radiocarbon dating method would be Accelerated Mass Spectrometry which was developed in the late 1980s and published its first results in 1994 (3).

This was a giant leap forward in that it offered far more accurate dates for a far smaller sample (9); this made destruction of samples a far less delicate issue to researchers, especially on artefacts such as The Shroud of Turin for which accurate dates were now possible without damaging a significant part of the artefact.

AMS counts the quantity of C isotope is constantly formed in the upper atmosphere thanks to the effects of cosmic rays on nitrogen-14 atoms.

It is oxidised quickly and absorbed in great quantities by all living organisms - animal and plant, land and ocean dwelling alike.

It is presumed that the proportion of atmospheric C is the same today as it was in 1950 (10), (11) and that the half-life remains the same.

If a radioactivity level comes back as half of what would have been expected if the organism had died in 1950, then it is presumed to be 5,730 years before 1950.

Radiocarbon dating may only be used on organic materials.

Typically (6): The above list is not exhaustive; most organic material is suitable so long as it is of sufficient age and has not mineralised - dinosaur bones are out as they no longer have any carbon left.

This allows researchers to account for variation by comparing the known records of C levels in the tree record, looking for a tree record that has the same proportion of radiocarbon.

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