Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Industry and Business News .

Use of ancient lead in modern physics experiments ignites debate
by Staff Writers
Birmingham, England (UPI) Nov 29, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Physicists and archaeologists are at odds over the use in contemporary experiments in particle physics of lead recovered from ancient shipwrecks.

Scientists from a dark matter detection project in Minnesota and from a neutrino observatory in Italy have begun to use the specimens, but archaeologists have raised alarm about what they say is the destruction of cultural heritage artifacts.

More than 100 lead ingots from a Roman ship recovered in the waters off Sardinia have been used to build the advanced detector of neutrinos -- almost weightless subatomic particles -- in Italy. Lead ingots recovered from an 18th century shipwreck off the French coast have found their way into dark matter detector located in a mine in Minnesota.

Why the desire for ancient lead in modern experiments?

"Roman lead is essential for conducting these experiments because it offers purity and such low levels of radioactivity -- all the more so the longer it has spent underwater -- which current methods for producing this metal cannot reach," underwater heritage expert Elena Perez-Alvaro from the University of Birmingham said.

"Lead extracted today is naturally contaminated with the isotope Pb-210, which prevents it from being used as shielding for particle detectors," physicist Fernando Gonzalez Zalba from the University of Cambridge said.

The two researchers, writing in the journal Rosetta, address the dilemma: Should we sacrifice part of our cultural heritage to achieve greater knowledge of the universe?

"Underwater archaeologists see destruction of heritage as a loss of our past, our history, whilst physicists support basic research to look for answers we do not yet have," said Perez-Alvaro, "although this has led to situations in which, for example, private companies ... trade lead recovered from sunken ships."

Perez-Alvaro and Zalba say they encourage dialogue between both disciplines, and call for legislation that regulates such activities without limiting them exclusively to archaeologists, and to allow use by physicists.

"Recovery for knowledge in both fields, and not merely for commercial reasons," they stress.


Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Scientists create perfect solution to iron out kinks in surfaces
London, UK (SPX) Nov 28, 2013
A new technique that allows curved surfaces to appear flat to electromagnetic waves has been developed by scientists at Queen Mary University of London. The discovery could hail a step-change in how antennas are tailored to each platform, which could be useful to a number of industries that rely on high performance antennas for reliable and efficient wireless communications. The rese ... read more

Use of ancient lead in modern physics experiments ignites debate

Crippled space telescope given second life, new mission

Scientists create perfect solution to iron out kinks in surfaces

What might recyclable satellites look like?

Boeing Tests Validate Performance of FAB-T Satellite Communications Program

Intelsat General To Provide Satellite Services To US Marines

Manpack Radios in Arctic Connect with MUOS Satellites Orbiting Equator

Self-correcting crystal may unleash the next generation of advanced communications

SpaceX postpones first satellite launch

Second rocket launch site depends on satellite size, cost-benefit

Private US launch of satellite delayed

Stepping up Vega launcher production

'Smart' wig navigates by GPS, monitors brainwaves

CIA, Pentagon trying to hinder construction of GLONASS stations in US

GPS 3 Prototype Communicates With GPS Constellation

Russia to enforce GLONASS Over GPS

US telling airlines to stay safe in East China Sea

The secrets of owls' near noiseless wings

Japanese airlines say will obey China's air zone rules

Peru boosts defense with tactical aircraft, helos

Chips meet Tubes: World's First Terahertz Vacuum Amplifier

NIST demonstrates how losing information can benefit quantum computing

Chaotic physics in ferroelectrics hints at brain-like computing

Nature: Single-atom Bit Forms Smallest Memory in the World

Satellite map to help assess threats to Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Google Earth reveals untold fish catches

Satellite trio to explore the Earth's magnetic field

Cameras for high-res images of Earth's surface on way to space station

Madrid street-sweepers call off strike: union

Everyday chemical exposure linked to preterm births

Albania refuses to host Syria arsenal destruction

Protests grow in Albania against Syria weapons destruction

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement