Libby estimated that the steady-state radioactivity concentration of exchangeable carbon-14 would be about 14 disintegrations per minute (dpm) per gram.In 1960, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.
Scientists discovered that rocks could be timepieces -- literally.
Many chemical elements in rock exist in a number of slightly different forms, known as isotopes.
Using fossils as guides, they began to piece together a crude history of Earth, but it was an imperfect history.
After all, the ever-changing Earth rarely left a complete geological record.
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Before then, the Bible had provided the only estimate for the age of the world: about 6,000 years, with Genesis as the history book.
Hutton's theories were short on evidence at first, but by 1830 most scientists concurred that Noah's ark was more allegory than reality as they documented geological layering.
The age of the planet, though, was important to Charles Darwin and other evolutionary theorists: The biological evidence they were collecting showed that nature needed vastly more time than previously thought to sculpt the world.