Carbon 14 bomb pulse dating
“Had we known how difficult it was going to be, we never would have stuck with it,” says physicist Bruce Buchholz, one of Spalding’s co-authors and an expert on bomb pulse dating at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory outside San Francisco.
But Spalding persevered, and her hard work eventually paid off.
“It was precisely as revolting as it sounds,” she says.
Spalding would then spend hours chipping away to extract the necessary cells, a grisly procedure that was just the first in a decade-long stretch of hurdles she had to surmount.
They and their co-authors had solved one of neuroscience’s longstanding mysteries.
Forensic experts use radiocarbon dating to establish if an individual died recently (perhaps a matter for the Justice Department) or in antiquity (a matter for the archaeologist). Living things assimilate radiocarbon from the atmosphere.