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Libby Develops Radiocarbon Dating

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Louis Essen standing next to the world's first atomic clock (1955).
Louis Essen standing next to the world's first atomic clock (1955).

In 1948, Willard Frank Libby developed the theory of an atomic clock and Charles Hard Townes took the research further by using an ammonia molecule. In 1955, Louis Essen built the first accurate atomic clock when he used cesium, which is the current timekeeping standard.
See also: Charles Townes' 1991 Oral History, Charles Townes' 1992 Oral History