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To understand radiocarbon dating, you first have to understand the word Although an element’s number of protons cannot change, the number of neutrons can vary slightly from each atom.

Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.

This can be done with a degree of ease for the first 20 elements following several simple steps.

These steps result in workable electron dot diagrams, which are also called Lewis Dot Diagrams.

Here’s an example using the simplest atom, hydrogen. Carbon-14 is an unstable isotope of carbon that will eventually decay at a known rate to become carbon-12.

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