A nitrogen atom hit by one of these neutrons changes into a C-14 atom and ejects a protein.
If a moving neutron enters a nitrogen nucleus, a proton comes flying out, and the nitrogen atom is changed to an atom of C-14. The constancy of C-14 in our atmosphere depends on the cosmic rays coming into the atmosphere at the same rate.
But the cosmic ray bombardment changes moment by moment, day by day and week by week.
Such activity as sun spots or solar storms will affect the cosmic radiation.
Some of the scientists who date by C-14 claim these are only small fluctuations and would have no overall effect.
One assumes that there is enough sand in the timer so that it takes three minutes for it to move from the top of the glass to the bottom of the glass.If the scientist can find out how much of this material was in the bone when the animal died, and if he knows how fast it disappears, and if he can measure the amount still left in the bone, he has something like a natural hourglass. Carbon is one of the most important atoms in the living system.Carbon is present in proteins, fats and carbohydrates – the three basic foods.Carbon is found in all of our cells, including bone cells. A very small part of the carbon in our body is radioactive C-14, which does change to a nitrogen atom.Carbon atoms such as we have in the living body are two kinds. C-14, thus, disappears, like sand running through the hourglass.