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C produced in the atmosphere were always the same, then we could calculate a "radiocarbon age" using the equation we have discussed directly as an estimate of sample age. This was recognized soon after Libby published his first Curve of Knowns (Arnold and Libby, 1949).The cosmic rays striking the upper atmosphere fluctuate in intensity with time by a small amount due to changes in the magnetic fields of the sun and the earth.
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Research Scientist at the NSF Arizona AMS Facility and Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, Ariz. Its primary use is for radiocarbon dating of small samples of carbon, although many measurements have also been made on the longer-lived radionuclides such as I, which have applications to geology and marine studies.
This article is reproduced from Nuclear News, June 19998, and is based on a paper presented at the ANS Winter Meeting, held November 16-20, 1997, in Albuquerquete N. AMS has become an accurate and precise method for dating many types of materials - including such interesting items as the Shroud of Turin and the Dead Sea Scrolls, which will be discussed laterwhere only a small sample can be spared.
For historical reasons, uncalibrated radiocarbon measurements are often referred to a half-life of 5568 years.