Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years— during the succeeding 5,730 years.
Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon.
Renfrew (1973) called it 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its impact upon the human sciences.
Oakley (1979) suggested its development meant an almost complete re-writing of the evolution and cultural emergence of the human species.
But if the change is real, rather than an anomaly in the detector, it would challenge the entire concept of half-life and even force physicists to rewrite their nuclear physics textbooks (Ibid.).
Because the decay rates in the two studies from the 1980s were altered by the seasons, physicists suspect that the sun was affecting the rates of decay, “possibly through some physical mechanism that had never before been observed” (Ibid.).
As far back as the 1980s, a study of silicon-32 at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York State, and another study of radium-226 at the PTB, a scientific institute in Germany, made similar findings.
Both studies were long-term, and, according to A change of less than a percent may not sound like a lot.
For example, a team at Purdue University in Indiana was monitoring a lump of manganese-54 in a radiation detector box to measure the isotope’s half-life.
At PM on December 12, 2006, the instruments recorded a sudden dip in radioactivity.
Alburger was unaware that, at the exact same time, the German scientists at the PTB had found the same thing, with “yearly oscillations in a decay rate, in a 15-year experiment with radium-226” (Ibid.).
Again, the finding made no splash in the scientific community.
Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.