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Usually a proton is knocked out of the nitrogen atom's nucleus and is replaced with the neutron.The proton takes an electron with it and becomes an atom of hydrogen.It is the supposed accuracy of the new method that allows measurements sensitive enough to date objects claimed to be more than twenty or thirty thousand years old.A recent test by the British Science and Engineering Research Council has shown that the accuracy of the new technique is greatly overrated.They found large variations in the radiocarbon 'dates' of objects of known age sent to 38 radiocarbon 'dating' laboratories around the world.
Such enthusiasts continue to claim, incredible though it may seem, that "no gross discrepancies are apparent".
The carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants, and the plants are eaten by animals, thus contaminating every living thing on earth with radioactive carbon. As time passes, the C14 in its tissues is converted back into nitrogen.
If we know what the original ratios of C14 to C12 were in the organism when it died, and if we know that the sample has not been contaminated by contact with other carbon since its death, we should be able to calculate when it died by its C14 to C12 ratio.
Radioactive carbon (Carbon 14) is formed in the upper atmosphere as a byproduct of cosmic radiation.
Cosmic rays are positively charged atoms moving at enormous speeds.
Surely 15,000 years of difference on a single block of soil is indeed a gross discrepancy!