Radioactive dating used for dating the turin shroud updating ps3 from storage media

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This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.Pieces the Size of Postage Stamp Instead, the Vatican opted for a more advanced method that is more precise and requires the destruction of a much smaller sample of material, roughly the size of a postage stamp.The three laboratories conducting the analyses were at the University of Arizona in Tucson, the British Museum in London and the Swiss Federal Institute in Zurich.This is done using radiation detectors similar in principle to the Geiger counter.But in the case of the Shroud of Turin, this conventional testing technique would have required the use of relatively large amounts of material, the size of a handkerchief for each laboratory, more than Vatican authorities were willing to allow to be cut from the shroud.Finally, the electrically charged carbon atoms emerging from the accelerator were sorted out by magnetic fields, permitting precise measurement of the ratio between carbon 14 and carbon 13.

The ratios between these isotopes of carbon remain more or less constant as long as the organism remains alive, but after death the radioactive carbon 14 is no longer replenished as it disappears by radioactive decay.In the technique used by all three institutions, carbon and other atoms and molecules extracted from the sample are electrically charged and hurled through a series of magnetic fields by a special nuclear accelerator, called a tandem accelerator mass spectrometer.These fields deflect atoms of varying mass and electrical charge so they strike different regions of a detector target.In the next stage, the graphite derived from the shroud sample, consisting of a mixture of stable carbon isotopes with radioactive carbon 14, was bombarded by heavy cesium atoms.This process knocked carbon atoms loose from the graphite, endowed some of them with electric charges and sent them toward the accelerator.

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