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He also discovered that tritium similarly could be used for dating water, and therefore wine.In 1950, he became a member of the General Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).Tests against sequoia with known dates from their tree rings showed radiocarbon dating to be reliable and accurate.The technique revolutionised archaeology, palaeontology and other disciplines that dealt with ancient artefacts.Libby conducted a series of tests that indicated that the Norris-Adler barrier would work, and he remained confident that with an all-out effort, the remaining problems with it could be solved.Although doubts remained, construction work began on the K-25 full-scale production plant in September 1943. Tests began on the machinery at K-25 in April 1944 without a barrier.Staunchly conservative politically, he was one of the few scientists who sided with Edward Teller rather than Robert Oppenheimer during the debate on whether it was wise to pursue a crash program to develop the hydrogen bomb.
Libby and his family moved from Chicago to Washington, D. He brought with him a truckload of scientific equipment, which he used to establish a laboratory at the Carnegie Institution there to continue his studies of amino acids.Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Gordon Dean appointed Libby to its influential General Advisory Committee (GAC) in 1950.In 1954, he was appointed an AEC commissioner by President Dwight D.Gaseous diffusion worked on the principle that a lighter gas diffuses through a barrier faster than a heavier one at a rate inversely proportional to its molecular weight.But the only known gas containing uranium was the highly corrosive uranium hexafluoride, and a suitable barrier was hard to find.
Urey arranged for Libby to be given leave from the University of California and to join him at Columbia University to work on the Manhattan Project, the wartime project to develop atomic bombs, An atomic bomb required fissile material, and the fissile uranium-235 made up only 0.7 percent of natural uranium.