Huxley, attacked Thomson's calculations, suggesting they appeared precise in themselves but were based on faulty assumptions.The physicist Hermann von Helmholtz (in 1856) and astronomer Simon Newcomb (in 1892) contributed their own calculations of 22 and 18 million years respectively to the debate: they independently calculated the amount of time it would take for the Sun to condense down to its current diameter and brightness from the nebula of gas and dust from which it was born.This process causes a proton to be displaced by a neutron, effectively turning atoms of Nitrogen it into an isotope of carbon – known as”radiocarbon”.It is naturally radioactive and unstable, and will therefore spontaneously decay back into N-14 over a period of time.It is also difficult to determine the exact age of the oldest rocks on Earth, exposed at the surface, as they are aggregates of minerals of possibly different ages.
When they die, they cease to consume them, and the isotope of C-14 begins to revert back to its Nitrogen state at an exponential rate due to its radioactive decay.This property makes it especially useful in a process known as “radiocarbon dating”, or carbon dating for short.Radiocarbon enters the biosphere through natural processes like eating and breathing.These layers often contained fossilized remains of unknown creatures, leading some to interpret a progression of organisms from layer to layer.In the mid-18th century, the naturalist Mikhail Lomonosov suggested that Earth had been created separately from, and several hundred thousand years before, the rest of the universe. In 1779 the Comte du Buffon tried to obtain a value for the age of Earth using an experiment: He created a small globe that resembled Earth in composition and then measured its rate of cooling.Nevertheless, it remains the most accurate means of dating the scientific community has discovered so far. We’ve also recorded an entire episode of Astronomy Cast all about How Carbon Dating Works. He is also a freelance writer, a science fiction author and a Taekwon-Do instructor.