Carbon-14 Dating Question

Someone at Tesla stole your idea for a better electrolyte solvent and got all the credit. You decide to get out of the cutthroat battery industry and try nuclear chemistry. You get a job in the bowels of the Smithsonian Institute performing radiometric dating. Do some research to become familiar with the job before you start. Write a review about carbon-14 dating that includes the following subtopic.

Use the following guidelines for your review.

  • Meets the 100 word minimum requirement for each subtopic.
  • Images need to be referenced, even if you created them.
  • Entry is written in a formal manner, with no use of text messaging “shorthand,” slang, or similar.
  • Only reliable references are used and all quoted data is referenced properly with correctly formatted citations. Do not plagiarize!

a. A review of the principles of carbon-14 dating, including the nuclear reaction and the limitations on how far back carbon-14 dating can reliably measure the age of something.

b. A rare find of carbon containing soft tissue (biological tissue, such as proteins) in a T-rex dinosaur fossil bone that is thought to be 65 million years old has recently been discovered by paleontologist Mary Schweitzer (Fields 2006). You have been asked to analyze a sample of the tissue for carbon-14 dating. The activity of the sample was found to be 8 x 10-5 disintegrations per second. An equal mass of fresh sample of human tissue was found to be 15.200 disintegrations per second. The half-life of carbon-14 is 5700 yr. Calculate the age of the dinosaur tissue from the data you acquired.

c. Is the date you calculated above valid for this type of analysis? Why?

d. Read the paragraph below. Does your finding support, refute, or not do either for Creationist theory? Explain why.

“Young-earth creationists also see Schweitzer’s work as revolutionary, but in an entirely different way. They first seized upon Schweitzer’s work after she wrote an article for the popular science magazine Earth in 1997 about possible red blood cells in her dinosaur specimens. Creation magazine claimed that Schweitzer’s research was “powerful testimony against the whole idea of dinosaurs living millions of years ago. It speaks volumes for the Bible’s account of a recent creation.”

Fields, Helen. “Dinosaur Shocker.” Smithsonian Institution, 01 May 2006. Web. 14 July 2017.

e. The T-rex soft tissue needs to be extracted with a strong ammonia buffer. Calculate how many grams of sodium hydroxide you need to add to one liter of 0.75 M ammonium chloride to prepare a pH 9.5 buffer solution. (pKb of ammonia = 1.8 x 10-5)

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