It was while working in the Kent Laboratory building in the 1940s that Prof. Willard Libby and his UChicago associates developed radiocarbon dating -- an innovative method to measure the age of organic materials. Scientists soon used the technique on materials ranging from the dung of a giant sloth from a Nevada cave; seaweed and algae from Monte Verde, Chile, the oldest archaeological site in the Western Hemisphere; the Shroud of Turin; and the meteorite that created the Henbury Craters in northern Australia.One item tested early-on by Libby is of special interest to PaleoJudaica (my emphasis):
Now the American Chemical Society has designated the discovery of radiocarbon dating as a National Historic Chemical Landmark. The society will officially recognize the achievement at 4 p.m. Oct. 10, with the unveiling of a plaque in the foyer of the Kent Chemical Laboratory building at 1020 E. 58th St.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of Libby's first publication on radiocarbon dating, which appeared in the June 1, 1946 issue of Physical Review. The work earned Libby the 1960 Nobel Prize in chemistry "for determinations in archaeology, geology, geophysics and other branches of science."
Other tested samples included part of the deck of a funeral ship placed in the tomb of Sesostris III of Egypt, the heartwood of one of the largest redwood trees ever cut, and the linen wrapping one of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The second edition of Libby's Radiocarbon Dating, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1955, lists 27 pages of objects for which he had obtained radiocarbon dates before the fall of 1954.