I was having trouble finding the employment requirements for carbon dating labs so I decided to email every carbon dating lab I could find an email for to ask them what their requirements were. This article contains when I sent the emails and it contains the few responses I received.
I sent the first round of emails on 21 Mar. 2021. I only sent emails to the labs in Argentina and Austria because I realized it was a Sunday and I didn’t want to have them get pushed down and missed because of Monday’s emails. Between those two countries, there were 8 emails.
I resumed sending emails on Monday, 5 Apr. 2021. I sent them to the labs in Belarus through Canada and to the labs in Monaco through Uruguay. There were 8 email between Belarus through Canada and 70 between Monaco through Uruguay.
The final round was sent on Tuesday, 13 Apr. 2021. I sent them to the labs in China through Mexico for a total of 78 emails.
Here is the email I sent:
I’m interested in your research and am looking for ways to get started in your field.
Can you let me know the requirements for employment in your lab?”
The the link I used to find the emails gets updated and so it will expire shortly. However, the updated link can be found at the bottom of this page: http://radiocarbon.webhost.uits.arizona.edu/node/11
Here I provide the responses I got that include information about employment reqs. I received more failed to send responses than any other type. Some labs responded saying that they’ve had to stop (temporarily or indefinitely) their services due to financial issues.
From the responses I got, a degree in chemistry is the most common requirement, although some labs did mention employing archeologists. Other relevant degrees can be in biology or geology. Check below for the more detailed information.
I have not yet emailed any of them again, although multiple people said I can ask for more information if I wanted.
I have the responses ordered by alphabetically by country. The labs are italicized and are followed by what institution the lab is run by (when applicable) and the responses I got from them.
Overall, the people who emailed me back with employment information were helpful in giving me an idea on what it takes to get employed in an entry level position at a lab that does carbon dating. For their help, I’m thankful.
I think it’d be good for them to post the different positions in their lab online. Same for the requirements it takes to be eligible for each position. I don’t think this would have any negative impact and I figure it would allow people like me to more easily plan out what they want to do for their careers.
The total number of relevant responses I’ve received so far is: 5/164
Radiocarbon Dating and Cosmogenic Isotopes Laboratory
@ Weizmann Institute of Science
Elisabetta Boaretto told me on 14 Apr. 2021 they only hire students and post-docs but that they did not have any open positions in their research lab. I was also told that a background in science and archeology is needed for employment.
Oxford Radiocarbon AcceleratorUnit Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art
@ Oxford University, Dyson Perrins Building
Emma Henderson responded to me on 6 Apr. 2021. I was informed that the requirements vary depending on which part of the process I’m interested in. The technicians usually have chemistry degrees while the researchers mainly have archeology degrees. Emma was highly professional and said she’d be happy to give more information if I could provide more information on my areas of interest.
Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry
@ Geosciences Department, University of Arizona
Christopher Eastoe informed me on 5 Apr. 2021 that he had retired but he was kind enough to provide me with an email to someone who was not retired, namely David Dettman. David replied on 5 Apr. 2021, was professional, thanked me for my email, and let me know that there were no open positions in their lab. I was told that they would “(most likely)” be looking for people with lab experience because their lab has wet and physical chemistry systems “(mostly gas handling and combustion)”.
@ Energy and Environmental Sustainability Laboratories The Pennsylvania State University
Mina Odette informed me on 5 Apr. 2021 that they had an open position for an Organics Laboratory Research Technologist 1. Mina was very professional and helpful.
Here’s the basic requirements:
“The successful candidate must have a minimum of an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, preferably in Chemistry, and a minimum of one year of hands-on experience in an academic and/or commercial laboratory working with LC/MS and/or GC/MS instrumentation. The successful candidate must be detail oriented, and possess excellent analytical, communication, and writing skills.”
Diane Vento with Beta Analytic responded to me on 6 Apr. 2021 and was very professional and courteous. Here are the requirements they gave me for being employed as a Laboratory Technician 1:
QUALIFICATIONS & SKILLS:
ADDITIONAL KEY REQUIREMENTS:
Candidate must be eligible to work in the United States.