The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.In many ways the era was analogous to today's computer explosion where fortune favours the young and the brave.
Willard Frank Libby (December 17, 1908 – September 8, 1980) was an American physical chemist noted for his role in the 1949 development of radiocarbon dating, a process which revolutionized archaeology and palaeontology.
For his contributions to the team that developed this process, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960.
Libby received his Ph D degree in 1933 and joined the Berkeley faculty where he rose through the ranks until he became associate professor in 1945.
His investigations in natural and induced radioactivity, isotopic-tracer techniques and hot-atom chemistry were among the earliest work in the field of nuclear chemistry in the US.
After graduating from high school, in 1927 he entered the University of California at Berkeley and enrolled as a mining engineer, but during his studies he became interested in chemistry and thus enrolled in chemistry, physics, and mathematics courses.
After receiving his BS degree in 1931, he continued his university work at Berkeley, also studying under physical chemist Gilbert Newton Lewis, and learned to build Geiger-Müller counters which could be used to detect radioactive isotopes emitting low-energy radiation.
Willard Frank Libby Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1960"For his method to use carbon-14 for age determination in archaeology, geology, geophysics, and other branches of science".
Toward Nuclear Chemistry Willard Frank Libby was born on December 17, 1908, in Grand Valley, Colorado and grew up in a ranch north of San Francisco.
It was in this firmament of hope compounded by confusion that rewarding careers began and lifelong friendships were forged.
It was thus in early 1952 that Harry Godwin, who had recently formed the University Sub-Department of Quaternary Research in the Botany School, applied for a grant from the Nuffield Foundation of eight thousand pounds over five years to create the Cambridge Laboratory.
A 1927 chemistry graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, from which he received his doctorate in 1933, he studied radioactive elements and developed sensitive Geiger counters to measure weak natural and artificial radioactivity.