Book ID: CBB824180030

Hot Carbon: Carbon-14 and a Revolution in Science (2019)


Marra, John F. (Author)

Columbia University Press

Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 427
Language: English

There are few fields of science that carbon-14 has not touched. A radioactive isotope of carbon, it stands out for its unusually long half-life. Best known for its application to estimating the age of artifacts—carbon dating—carbon-14 helped reveal new chronologies of human civilization and geological time. Everything containing carbon, the basis of all life, could be placed in time according to the clock of radioactive decay, with research applications ranging from archeology to oceanography to climatology.In Hot Carbon, John F. Marra tells the untold story of this scientific revolution. He weaves together the workings of the many disciplines that employ carbon-14 with gripping tales of the individuals who pioneered its possibilities. He describes the concrete applications of carbon-14 to the study of all the stuff of life on earth, from climate science’s understanding of change over time to his own work on oceanic photosynthesis with microscopic phytoplankton. Marra’s engaging narrative encompasses nuclear testing, the peopling of the Americas, elephant poaching, and the flax plants used for the linen in the Shroud of Turin. Combining colorful narrative prose with accessible explanations of fundamental science, Hot Carbon is a thought-provoking exploration of how the power of carbon-14 informs our relationship to the past.

Reviewed By

Review Seth C. Rasmussen (2020) Review of "Hot Carbon: Carbon-14 and a Revolution in Science". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 900-901). unapi

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Bashford, Alison; (2013)
The Anthropocene is Modern History: Reflections on Climate and Australian Deep Time (/isis/citation/CBB001201447/) unapi

Article Curci, Antonio; Carletti, Michela; Tosi, Maurizio; (2014)
The Camel Remains from Site Hd-6 (Ra's Al-Hadd, Sultanate of Oman): An Opportunity For a Critical Review of Dromedary Findings in Eastern Arabia (/isis/citation/CBB001422502/) unapi

Article Schiermeier, Quirin; (2012)
Science in the Sahara: Man of the Desert (/isis/citation/CBB001320433/) unapi

Book Smits, Gregory; (2014)
When the Earth Roars: Lessons from the History of Earthquakes in Japan (/isis/citation/CBB001422284/) unapi

Article Morisaki, Kazuki; Izuho, Masami; Terry, Karisa; Sato, Hiroyuki; (2015)
Lithics and Climate: Technological Responses to Landscape Change in Upper Palaeolithic Northern Japan (/isis/citation/CBB001422594/) unapi

Article Kenner, Michael C.; Estes, James A.; Tinker, M. Tim; Bodkin, James L.; Cowen, Robert K.; Harrold, Christopher; Hatfield, Brian B.; Novak, Mark; Rassweiler, Andrew; Reed, Daniel C.; (2013)
A Multi-Decade Time Series of Kelp Forest Community Structure at San Nicolas Island, California (Usa) (/isis/citation/CBB001421427/) unapi

Book Carl Death; (2016)
The Green State in Africa (/isis/citation/CBB850595474/) unapi

Article Peter Hupfer; (2020)
Klimaforschung - Grundlage der Klimapolitik. (Climate research - the basis of climate policy) (/isis/citation/CBB240143667/) unapi

Article Parker, Wendy S.; (2014)
Simulation and Understanding in the Study of Weather and Climate (/isis/citation/CBB001421044/) unapi

Article Morgan, Ruth A.; (2013)
Histories for an Uncertain Future: Environmental History and Climate Change (/isis/citation/CBB001201446/) unapi

Article Zhang, Jiuchen; (2003)
On modern geologists in China (/isis/citation/CBB000340147/) unapi

Article Livingstone, David N.; (2012)
Changing Climate, Human Evolution, and the Revival of Environmental Determinism (/isis/citation/CBB001251584/) unapi

Article Angela N. H. Creager; (2017)
A Chemical Reaction to the Historiography of Biology (/isis/citation/CBB417096213/) unapi

Thesis Vera, Hector; (2012)
The Social Life of Measures Metrication in the United States and Mexico, 1789--2004 (/isis/citation/CBB001561019/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Dry, Sarah
Zhang, Jiuchen
Hulme, Mike
Morgan, Ruth A.
Bashford, Alison
Livingstone, David N.
Australian Historical Studies
Studies in Dialectics of Nature
Science as Culture
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Perspectives on Science
University of Chicago Press
Rowman & Littlefield
University of North Carolina Press
New School University
University of California, Davis
Yale University Press
Climate and climatology
Climate change
Environmental history
Disasters; catastrophes
Callendar, Guy Stewart
Gore, Albert
Kröpelin, Stefan
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
19th century
18th century
United States
National Weather Service (U.S.)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment