How to fool carbon 14 dating

Furthermore, they needed to perform the corresponding simulations for nitrogen-14, the daughter nucleus of the carbon-14 decay.And, they needed to figure out how the computer code could be scaled up for use on the Jaguar petascale supercomputer."The whole story doesn't come together until you include the three-particle forces," said Vary."The elusive three-nucleon forces contribute in a major way to this fact of life that carbon-14 lives so long." Maris said the three-particle forces work together to cancel the effects of the pairwise forces governing the decay of carbon-14.

The research was supported by contracts and grants from the U. The strong three-nucleon interactions are complicated, but it turns out a lot happens to extend the decay of carbon 14 atoms.And now they say there are more puzzles to solve: "Everybody now knows about these three-nucleon forces," Vary said. It’s a site that pumps out creationist commentary at such a rate that there’s already enough there to keep me occupied for many moons.To get that answer, Maris said researchers needed a billion-by-billion matrix and a computer capable of handling its 30 trillion non-zero elements.They also needed to develop a computer code capable of simulating the entire carbon-14 nucleus, including the roles of the three-nucleon forces.

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(Half-life is the time it takes for the nuclei in a sample to decay to half the original amount.) "This has been a very significant puzzle to nuclear physicists for several decades," said James Vary, an Iowa State University professor of physics and astronomy.

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