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Understanding our scientific history, and our world's history through science.PLEASE NOTE: this event takes place on the first floor and is not accessible for those with impaired mobility.
Illuminating History: Studying Medieval Manuscripts with Modern Spectroscopy
Medieval manuscripts, with their wonderful coloured illuminations, are an enduring and captivating reminder of the skills of the past. Many, now more than 1400 years old, still have vibrant and vivid colours. Team Pigment, a collection of scientists, historians and conservators, have developed a range of portable scientific equipment to study a wide range of books across Britain. We’ll demonstrate some of the techniques developed to identify these pigments without causing any damage to these beautiful documents, using UV, visible and infra-red radiation to reveal things hidden to the eye.
X-Rays and Excavation: Pots, Powders and Photons
We’ll look at how popular scientific techniques can contribute to cultural heritage science. We’ll discuss, with specific examples, how these techniques can help with all kinds of archaeological and conservation work, from archaeometric studies of medieval Byzantine pottery (dating, provenancing and studying object manufacture processes) to how X-ray diffraction helped conserve an Egyptian bronze statue over 2500 years old!
The Medieval Big Bang
How old is the Universe? How was it created? What will happen in the future? These are questions addressed by modern cosmologists, using the "laws of physics" and state-of-the art supercomputers to simulate how the Universe is created. However, these aren’t new questions; they are probably as old as human consciousness. We will look at how this picture has changed over the millennia; how work with the Ordered Universe project has led to amazing computer simulations of Robert Grosseteste’s medieval explanation of the origin of the Universe, and contrast this with our contemporary understanding.