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Physicists Help Solve Cold Cases

Thu, 2013-02-07 12:07 -- llancaster

Accelerator measurements of tooth fragments help detectives identify remains.
Originally published: 
Feb 7 2013 - 12:00pm
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  1. Carbon-14 (C-14) - An unstable form of carbon that is used for radiocarbon dating.  
  2. Radiocarbon dating - A process that can measure the amount of C-14 in a sample to estimate the sample's age.
  3. Accelerator - A device that speeds up objects such as electrons and ions (electrically charged atoms and molecules).
  4. Accelerator Mass Spectrometry - A technique that identifies the different kinds of atoms and molecules in a sample by using a particle accelerator to separate the sample's various atoms and molecules by their different masses.
  5. Mass - The amount of matter in an object; the most common form of carbon (carbon-12 ) has less mass than carbon-14.
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