According to Diane Grob Schmidt, the immediate past president of the ACS, every subject submitted for landmark consideration must fulfill three criteria: it must be more than 25 years old, it must represent a “seminal achievement” in chemistry, and it must have a significant contribution to society.As she presented the plaque, Schmidt said that beyond fulfilling the criteria, Libby’s work is “a fantastic example of the transforming power of chemistry” because of its profound effects on not only areas of study but also “on ourselves” by providing a fuller understanding of our past.
When these organisms die and fossilise, they appear to be much older than they actually are.
And, strange as it may sound, this has an effect on the Carbon-14 content in the clay pots that were used for cooking fish.
The dedication took place at Kent Chemical Laboratory, the building in which professor Willard F.
Libby made the discovery that would earn him the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.
This half life is a relatively small number, which means that carbon 14 dating is not particularly helpful for very recent deaths and deaths more than 50,000 years ago.
In his opening remarks during the program, Provost Daniel Diermeier highlighted the importance of Libby’s work.
“The word groundbreaking is used so often that it sometimes has lost its meaning but in today’s event, it is marking a development, the development of radiocarbon dating, [for which] the word groundbreaking is both appropriate and non-hyperbolic,” said Diermeier.
Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.
The half-life of a radioactive isotope describes the amount of time that it takes half of the isotope in a sample to decay.
(Photo: Sagnlandet Lejre)Danish Stone Age settlements may turn out to be hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years younger than we thought.