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The radioactive carbon has six protons and eight neutrons in its nucleus, giving it a total atomic mass of 14.This atom is not stable, and will break down, releasing nuclear energy in the process.It is the supposed accuracy of the new method that allows measurements sensitive enough to date objects claimed to be more than twenty or thirty thousand years old.A recent test by the British Science and Engineering Research Council has shown that the accuracy of the new technique is greatly overrated.

Cosmic rays are positively charged atoms moving at enormous speeds.

Usually a proton is knocked out of the nitrogen atom's nucleus and is replaced with the neutron.

The proton takes an electron with it and becomes an atom of hydrogen.

The nitrogen atom, which began with seven protons and seven neutrons, is left with only six protons and eight neutrons.

As the number of protons decides the chemical nature of an atom, the atom now behaves like a carbon atom.

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