Radiocarbon dating is a method for determining the age of carbonaceous materialsâ€”especially ancient archaeological specimensâ€”that relies on the presence of a naturally occurring isotope called carbon-14. After an organism dies, the amount of carbon-14 in its remains gradually decreases through radioactive beta decay. Measuring the amount of carbon-14 in an organism's remains thus allows scientists to determine how long it has been dead. How do atomic bombs affect atmospheric carbon-14 levels?
Back in the day
Heligoland is a small German archipelago located in the North Sea that consists of two islands: the populated main island of Hauptinsel and the smaller island of DÃ¼ne. Hauptinsel is commonly divided into three geographic sections, the last of which came into being in 1947, when the Royal Navy detonated 6,800 metric tons of explosives on the island, actually changing its shape. The "British Bang" was the biggest non-nuclear single detonation in history. Why did the British bomb the island?
Born on a day like today
Lucrezia was an Italian noblewoman and daughter of Pope Alexander VI. Her family came to epitomize the ruthless Machiavellian politics and sexual corruption allegedly characteristic of the Renaissance papacy, but rumors of her participation in her family's poison plots and of incestuous relations with her father and brother have not been proved. Nevertheless, Lucrezia is often viewed as a femme fatale and has been portrayed as such in many works of art. What are a few examples?