These two geochemists have one of the largest publishing networks in science

Geochemists Larry Edwards and Hai Cheng want to reconstruct the last half a million years on Earth in more detail than ever before.

After a chance meeting at a lab party almost three decades ago, the pair have developed some of the most powerful dating techniques in their field.

While conventional radiocarbon dating can reach back 40,000 years, Edwards and Cheng’s approach to uranium-thorium dating can reconstruct the past 600,000 years.

Their improvements to uranium-thorium dating, which estimates the age of a rock based on how much uranium and thorium it contains, have enabled researchers to track the rise and fall of ancient civilizations, the forming and melting of ice sheets, and abrupt fluctuations in Earth’s climate.

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