Lecture Note 1 - History of the World - 1500CE Further Reading

Course: History of the World to 1500CE
Columbia University
YouTube Lectures - Richard Bulliet (RB)
Lecture 1 - Further reading 1.2

Introduction to World History - Youtube upload 2010

Below are my notes on points for further reading from lecture 1 prior to studying lecture 2.
Sources: Hyper PhysicsC14 datingRadiocarbon
FR 1.2 - Carbon dating and corrected carbon dating.
Additional sources: BBC Bitesize

Well this is going to test the old grey matter! Ok so Carbon dating is a form of radioactive dating. It can only be applied to matter that was once living and presumed to be in equilibrium with our atmosphere; matter that assimilates carbon dioxide such as plants and animals. 

The nitrogen in our atmosphere is bombarded with neutrons that produce a radioactive isotope called carbon - 14. This in turn combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide which is assimilated by plants and animals through photosynthesis and I assume by animals through merely breathing. When plants and animals die they cease to exchange carbon dioxide with the atmosphere so the carbon - 14 within them begins to decay.

We know the rate of decay of carbon - 14 and as such can use this to calculate time elapsed between historic and current samples.

I have read on into corrected carbon dating but think it is a bit beyond me today and needs some study away from the daily distractions. I do like to understand all aspects of my study but think I need to read from a few more sources to fully grasp this. Its definitely something to mull over. As such I will revisit this FR point shortly.


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