"X-ray Fluorescence Imaging of ancient materials -From Archimedes to Archaeopteryx and Beyond" by Uwe Bergmann (SLAC)

Monday, April 16, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Moossa J. Arman Physics Colloquium: Science and Innovation

X-ray Fluorescence Imaging of ancient materials -From Archimedes to Archaeopteryx and Beyond

Uwe Bergmann

Stanford PULSE Institute

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

The 10th century parchment document known as the Archimedes Palimpsest, contains the oldest surviving copy of works by the Greek genius Archimedes of Syracuse (287 – 212 BC). To uncover his obscured writings we developed the technique of rapid-scan X-ray fluorescence (XRF) imaging at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. Since its successful application in the Archimedes project, we further optimized the method over the last decade, enabling us to carry out numerous imaging studies of large objects of cultural, archaeological and paleontological importance.

In this lecture, we will describe the X-ray imaging method and the powerful synchrotron sources that enable these studies. We will present some of the most exciting results of our quest to uncover our cultural and natural heritage. These examples include the imaging of a seventh-century Qur’an palimpsest and a section of the original score of the opera Médée, which was probably overpainted by its composer Luigi Cherubini before its premiere in 1797. Other examples include studies of dino-bird fossils, such as the 150-million-year-old iconic Archaeopteryx and Confuciusornis sanctus, a 120-million-year-old fossil of the oldest documented bird with a fully derived avian beak.

Please join me on a fascinating journey through ancient history uncovered by powerful modern X-ray methods.

CNSI Auditorium