Do science books say anything about carbon14 dating or not

(Photo by Paula Zyats, Yale University) University of Arizona researchers have cracked one of the puzzles surrounding what has been called "the world's most mysterious manuscript" – the Voynich manuscript, a book filled with drawings and writings nobody has been able to make sense of to this day.

Using radiocarbon dating, a team led by Greg Hodgins in the UA's department of physics has found the manuscript's parchment pages date back to the early 15th century, making the book a century older than scholars had previously thought.

Hodgins, who is an assistant research scientist in the UA's department of physics and an assistant professor at the UA's School of Anthropology, is fascinated with the manuscript. People are doing statistical analysis of letter use and word use – the tools that have been used for code breaking.

But they still haven't figured it out." A chemist and archaeological scientist by training, Hodgins works for the NSF Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, or AMS, Laboratory, which is shared between physics and geosciences.

Fast-forward to 2009: In the basement underneath the UA's Physics and Atmospheric Sciences building, Hodgins and a crew of scientists, engineers and technicians stare at a computer monitor displaying graphs and lines.

The humming sound of machinery fills the room and provides a backdrop drone for the rhythmic hissing of vacuum pumps.

What is true of plants and animals is also true of products made from them.

A tiny sample of carbon extracted from the manuscript is introduced into the "ion source" of the mass spectrometer.

Radiocarbon dating: looking back in time Carbon-14 is a rare form of carbon, a so-called radioisotope, that occurs naturally in the Earth's environment.

In the natural environment, there is only one carbon-14 atom per trillion non-radioactive or "stable" carbon isotopes, mostly carbon-12, but with small amounts of carbon-13.

This tome makes the "Da Vinci Code" look downright lackluster: Rows of text scrawled on visibly aged parchment, flowing around intricately drawn illustrations depicting plants, astronomical charts and human figures bathing in – perhaps – the fountain of youth.

At first glance, the "Voynich manuscript" appears to be not unlike any other antique work of writing and drawing.

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