Stephen covers breakthoughs in science and their impact on society, environment, military, geopolitics, business - pretty much all aspects of life. Stephen is an alumnus of Shantou University, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Semester at Sea programme which he attended with a full scholarship from the Seawise Foundation.
In his spare time, Stephen reads and writes novels.
Carbon atoms are constantly cycling through living and nonliving matter.
When plants take carbon atoms from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, they absorb a greater number of C ratio.
) C has gotten much lower since 1850 — right around the time when humans began burning fossil fuels for energy during the Industrial Revolution.
Before that, all traces of radiocarbon would be too small to detect.
Scientists consider a change that big to be or beyond what would occur due to random chance.
A significant change means that something different is acting in the system to change things from what has been normal for the past 10,000 years or so.
In the new study using samples taken from Xingkai Lake near the Sino-Russian border in Heilongjiang province, the scientists used both radiocarbon dating and another method known as optically stimulated luminescence.
Using light to measure the amount of free electrons trapped in quartz, the team was able to tell how long the samples had been kept away from sunlight, and therefore estimate when it was that they first fell in the lake.