Libby's groundbreaking radiocarbon dating technique instead looked at a much more rare isotope of carbon: Carbon Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts. This means that given a statistically large sample of carbon 14, we know that if we sit it in a box, go away, and come back in years, half of it will still be carbon 14, and the other half will have decayed.
On the other hand, if tons of half-lives have passed, there is almost none of the sample carbon 14 left, and it is really hard to measure accurately how much is left. In the following section we are going to go more in-depth about carbon dating in order to help you get a better understanding of how it works. Before Radiocarbon dating was able to be discovered, someone had to find the existence of the 14C isotope.