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Radiocarbon Specialists Gather In Wellington

Radiocarbon Specialists Gather In Wellington

Experts from 40 countries will gather in Wellington this weekend for a five-day conference on radiocarbon as an investigative tool.

Although first used in the early 1950s for dating past events, radiocarbon has become vitally important for unravelling many questions about the environment and how the Earth works. It has arguably become the most successful probe into the Earth's past and the environment ever devised.

The conference has attracted 230 specialists who will discuss a number of radiocarbon applications including archaeology, atmospheric science, climate change, oceanography, and geology.

Prominent speakers include former vice-chancellor of Victoria University and a former director of the Max Planck Research Institute in Germany Ian Axford, Swiss climate scientist Juerg Beer, and Robert Key who manages the radiocarbon component of a worldwide programme investigating circulation of the oceans.

A number of the scientists who radiocarbon dated the Shroud of Turin in 1989 will also attend.

The 18th International Radiocarbon Conference is being hosted by the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences' Rafter Radiocarbon Laboratory. It is the second time in 31 years that New Zealand has hosted the three-yearly event. It is being held at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand.

The event marks the 50th anniversary of the first radiocarbon measurements made in New Zealand. The Rafter Radiocarbon facility in Lower Hutt has the distinction of being the longest continually operating radiocarbon laboratory in the world.

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