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Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in 1949 and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.

Radiocarbon dating works by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon.

Carbon is also found in many compounds including carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere and dissolved in the oceans and other major bodies of water. It is used for fuel in the form of coal, methane gas, and crude oil (which is used to make gasoline).

Hydrocarbons that form many fuels such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum also contain carbon. It is used to make all sorts of materials including plastics and alloys such as steel (a combination of carbon and iron).

Allotropes are materials made from the same element, but their atoms fit together differently.

Each allotrope of carbon has different physical properties.

The total mass of the isotope is indicated by the numerical superscript.

While the lighter isotopes C has decayed that what remains can no longer be measured. In 5,730 years half of the C in the atmosphere, and therefore in plants and animals, has not always been constant.

French scientist Antoine Lavoisier determined that diamond was made of carbon in 1772. Carbon gets its name from the Latin word "carbo" meaning charcoal or coal.The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.View the full list Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50,000 years.Isotopes There are two stable naturally occurring isotopes of carbon, carbon-12 and carbon-13.Carbon-12 makes up almost 99% of the carbon found on Earth.

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