New Light Shed on Old Documents

Diamond synchrotron diagramThe BBC reports that “scientists from the University of Cardiff have developed a technique that uses a powerful X-ray source to create a three-dimensional image” of brittle, rolled historical documents that have been inscribed with a long-popular ink made from oak apples called iron gall ink.

The device they will use to do this is called the Diamond synchrotron.

The synchrotron, which covers the area of five football pitches, generates light beams that can probe matter down to the molecular and atomic scale.”The team then applies a computer algorithm to separate the image into the different layers of parchment, in effect using the program to unroll the scroll.”

[Thanks to Ingrid Farreras of Hood College for bringing this item to my attention.]

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.