Carbon 14 – Libby’s Luck | MalagaBay
Dec 13, Willard Frank Libby: Willard Frank Libby, American chemist whose technique of carbon (or radiocarbon) dating provided an extremely. Libby is best known as the developer of the radiocarbon dating technique for In the family, including Willard and his two brothers and two sisters, moved. Apr 20, The discovery of the principle behind carbon dating was reported in The New Willard F. Libby and his colleagues discovered that radioactive carbon The article said that Dr. Libby, a year-old chemistry professor at the.
In high school he played tackle and was called Wild Bill, a nickname that followed him all his life.
In Libby graduated from high school, and the following year he entered the University of California at Berkeley. While there he earned money by building apple boxes, which sometimes brought in as much as one hundred dollars per week.
Libby was interested in English history and literature, but he decided on a more practical career and enrolled as a mining engineer at Berkeley. Because his boardinghouse roommates were chemistry graduate students, he became interested in chemistry in his junior year and enrolled in chemistry, physics, and mathematics courses.
After receiving his BS degree inhe continued his university work at Berkeley, studying under physical chemists Gilbert Newton Lewisdean and chairman of the College of Chemistry, and Wendell M. Throughout his life he constructed Geiger counters, which he claimed to be more sensitive than those available commercially.
In Libby received his PhD degree and joined the Berkeley faculty, becoming first an instructor —then an assistant professor —and subsequently inan associate professor.
In October he moved to Chicago. On 9 August he married Leonor Lucinda Hickey.
Their twin daughters, Janet Eva and Susan Charlotte, were born in Simultaneously, he also worked under Harold C. Urey, the Nobel chemistry laureate, at Columbia University to develop methods for separating uranium isotopes by gaseous diffusion for production of the bomb.
Willard Frank Libby
In he showed that cosmic radiation in the upper atmosphere produces traces of tritium, the heaviest isotope of hydrogen hydrogen-3which can be used as a tracer for atmospheric water.
By measuring tritium concentrations, he developed a method for dating well water and wine as well as for measuring circulation patterns of water and the mixing of ocean waters.
On 1 October Libby was appointed to the U. He continued to mentor graduate students at Chicago but reduced his research activities and concentrated on his AEC duties. Libby soon became deeply involved in the problem of nuclear fallout. Inon the recommendation of the Rand Corporation of Santa Monica, California, he established and directed Project Sunshine to study the worldwide effect of nuclear weapons.
He was the first person to measure nuclear fallout in dust, soil, rain, human bone, and other sources, and he wrote articles and testified before the U.
Congress on this problem. Along with most scientists at the time, he believed that the effect of nuclear fallout on human genetics was minimal. It later became known that testing of nuclear weapons resulted in a large global increase in the carbon levels in the atmosphere, which decreased exponentially after the cessation of atmospheric testing in As a result of his post on the AEC, Libby became a well-known and controversial figure, and his portrait appeared on the cover of the 15 August issue of Time magazine.
Willard Frank Libby | lukonin.info
Libby, however, defended his position and responded to what he considered misguided thinking. For example, he wrote to Albert Schweitzerwho had stated that future generations would probably suffer from fallout, that Schweitzer was unaware of the most recent data and that continued nuclear testing was needed for the defense of the United States and the survival of the free world.
On 30 June he resigned from the AEC to resume scientific research but continued to assert the need for nuclear testing. He suggested that industries use isotopes in factories and farms.
He was a member of the international Atoms for Peace project, which supported nuclear energy for nonmilitary purposes. Libby thought that more scientists should assume positions of political power rather than serve as mere advisors, and he was pleased when Nobel chemistry laureate Glenn T. Seaborg was appointed chairman of the AEC in Libby resigned from the AEC largely because his wife wanted to return to California, and in he became professor of chemistry at the University of California at Los Angeles UCLAa position that he retained until his death.
To prove that nuclear war was survivable Libby built a fallout shelter at his new home, using sandbags and railroad ties. He assumed that a shelter would provide safety in case of a nuclear attack. In a series of articles for the Associated Press News Service, he argued that every home should have a shelter.
To prove the survivability of nuclear war, Libby built a fallout shelter at his house, an event that was widely publicized. In he showed that cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere produce traces of tritiumthe heaviest isotope of hydrogenwhich can be used as a tracer for atmospheric water. By measuring tritium concentrations, he developed a method for dating well water and wine, as well as for measuring circulation patterns of water and the mixing of ocean waters.
Because it had been known since that cosmic rays create showers of neutrons on striking atoms in the atmosphere, and because the atmosphere contains about 78 percent nitrogen, which absorbs neutrons to decay into the radioactive isotope carbon, Libby concluded that traces of carbon should always exist in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Also, because carbon dioxide is continuously absorbed by plants and becomes part of their tissues, plants should contain traces of carbon Since animals consume plants, animals should likewise contain traces of carbon After a plant or other organism dies, no additional carbon should be incorporated into its tissues, while that which is already present should decay at a constant rate.
Willard Frank Libby | American chemist | lukonin.info
The half-life of carbon was determined by its codiscoverer, chemist Martin D. Kamen, to be 5, years, which, compared with the age of the Earthis a short time but one long enough for the production and decay of carbon to reach equilibrium. By measuring the radioactivity of plant and animal material obtained globally from the North Pole to the South Polehe showed that the carbon produced by cosmic-ray bombardment varied little with latitude.
On March 4,Libby and his students obtained the first age determination using the carbon dating technique.Willard Libby lecturing at UCLA 4/1/1968