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Willard Frank Libby (December 17, 1908 to September 8, 1980) was an American physical chemist.Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960 "for his method to use carbon-14 for age determination in archaeology, geology, geophysics and other branches of science." In addition to his Nobel Prize, he received the Research Corporation Award in 1951, The Chandler Medal in 1954, The American Chemical Society Award for Nuclear Applications in Chemistry in 1956, the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1957, the Albert Einstein Medal Award in 1959.The thyroid gland in the neck is one of the few places in the body with a significant concentration of iodine.To evaluate thyroid activity, a measured dose of I is administered to a patient, and the next day a scanner is used to measure the amount of radioactivity in the thyroid gland.
Scientists were also able to use radiocarbon dating to show that the age of a mummified body found in the ice of the Alps was 5,300 y.
Contrary to the belief of some people, irradiation of food Radioactive isotopes have numerous medical applications—diagnosing and treating illness and diseases.
One example of a diagnostic application is using radioactive iodine-131 to test for thyroid activity (Figure 15.4 "Medical Diagnostics").
Radioactive isotopes have a variety of applications.
Generally, however, they are useful because either we can detect their radioactivity or we can use the energy they release.