Radiocarbon dating was invented in the 1950s by the American chemist Willard F.
Libby and a few of his students at the University of Chicago: in 1960, he won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention.
It was the first absolute scientific method ever invented: that is to say, the technique was the first to allow a researcher to determine how long ago an organic object died, whether it is in context or not.
So, if you measure the amount of C14 in a dead organism, you can figure out how long ago it stopped exchanging carbon with its atmosphere.
The latest curves were ratified at the 21st International Radiocarbon Conference in July of 2012.
Within the last few years, a new potential source for further refining radiocarbon curves is Lake Suigetsu in Japan.
Radiocarbon dating is one of the best known archaeological dating techniques available to scientists, and the many people in the general public have at least heard of it.
But there are many misconceptions about how radiocarbon works and how reliable a technique it is.