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Hot Carbon

Carbon-14 and a Revolution in Science

There are few fields of science that carbon-14 has not touched. In Hot Carbon, John F. Marra tells the untold story of this scientific revolution, weaving together the workings of the many disciplines that employ carbon-14 with gripping tales of the individuals who pioneered its possibilities.

Author Information

MarraJohn F.:

John F. Marra is a Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, and Director of Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center at Brooklyn College. Previously, Marra was a research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, from 1977 to 2007. In 2001, he was appointed Associate Director for the Division of Biology and Paleoenvironement at Lamont. He has published over 140 scholarly articles. This is his first book.John F. Marra is professor of earth and environmental sciences and director of the Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center at Brooklyn College. He was previously a research scientist and associate director of the Division of Biology and Paleoenvironment at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.


Richard T. Barber, Harvey W. Smith Professor Emeritus of Biological Oceanography in the Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Duke University:
The more times I read this book, the more favorably impressed I am with the clarity and drama of the narrative. Marra’s work will be very well received and appreciated by those interested in how science advances. This is true particularly now, when there is so much controversy surrounding the validity of science per se.

James J. McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University:
This is an engaging and witty account of the discovery of carbon-14 – there are surprising twists and turns along the way. With its entertaining descriptions of carbon-14’s role in understanding fundamental life processes, dating archaeological specimens, and chronicling past climate, this book is a page-turner for anyone interested in the history of scientific discovery.

Eli Kintisch, correspondent, Science magazine:
You may never have heard of carbon-14, but from chemistry to physiology to oceanography, no isotope has affected more aspects of modern life. With precision and verve, oceanographer John F. Marra profiles the most important isotope on earth.

Audience: General/trade;