April 22, 2019
Latest News
Entertainment

Radiation: a key technique for the preservation of art and culture

By Antonio Sánchez Solís

Vienna, Apr 12 (efe-epa).- Art restoration and archeology have become increasingly dependent on the use of nuclear technology to disinfect ancient artifacts and reveal secrets that are inaccessible to the naked eye, according to an expert.

"The advantage of these techniques is that they can be applied on a broad range of materials, the analysis can be done in a totally non-invasive way or with minimal damage to the object," Román Padilla of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Efe.

Padilla is an expert in various techniques including the use of X-ray fluorescence (XRF), an analytical technique that identifies the chemical composition of something.

When using this technology, one of myriad techniques that can be used in art restoration, the object is "bombarded" with high-energy X-rays or gamma rays to destabilize the structure of electrons within the object causing it to emit radiation.

What it radiates will be different depending on its chemical compound.

So the object absorbs radiation and in doing so, depending on its chemical composition, then proceeds to emit radiation back that gives scientists information about its composition.

The analysis of the results allows researchers to identify what chemical elements are present.

XRF has been instrumental in determining the exact pigments used in a painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.

Experts have been able to pinpoint that as well as his trademark lapis lazuli hue he used for blue pigments, other shades of blue present in his paintings were created with cobalt, an artificial pigment that was invented much later, thus confirming that a painting containing traces of cobalt would have been retouched long after Da Vinci originally painted it.

Padilla used this technique to help the Museum of Art History in Vienna identify that Indonesian "kris" daggers in its collection had traces of a mineral that would have come from a meteorite that was rich in nickel and cobalt and that struck the region where the daggers came from in the 18th century.

The Cuban expert added that another great advantage of this technology was its portability as the main instrument scientists use is a small apparatus shaped like a gun.

This is particularly useful when dealing with very delicate objects that cannot be moved from their location due to their value or size, such as frescoes or large sculptures.

Another atomic technique used in art restoration is ionizing radiation, used to disinfect and clean historical artifacts that have been damaged by parasites.

The technique started to be widely used following a successful intervention to disinfect the mummy of ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II in 1977.

Different intensities of radiation are used depending on the treatment of the object in question.

If dealing with insects, such as parasites, a lower dose is used and when treating mold higher levels of radiation are employed, Dinara Abbasova, an expert in the radiation processes, told Efe.

The reason for using different levels of radiation is because the more complex the DNA structure, the more vulnerable it is to gamma rays.

The technique consists of transferring energy to the microorganisms that are living within the object without damaging the object itself.

This specific technique was used in 2010 when neutralizing the germs that had infected a 50,000-year-old mammoth nicknamed "Khroma" that was found in thawing permafrost in Russian Siberia.

The IAEA collaborates with various laboratories of its member states in order to develop irradiation techniques further.

Thanks to these efforts in 2015, a Romanian iconostasis (a wall of religious icons often found in eastern Christianity) made of wood and from the 19th century was successfully cleared of an insect infestation.

In Brazil, the IAEA has worked closely with the Nuclear and Energy Research Institute of Sao Paolo to restore some 20,000 objects of Latin American's artistic and cultural heritage. EFE-EPA

as/ch/sh

News history
Funeral of victims of Sri Lanka attacks to be held on Tuesday

Colombo, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- The Sri Lankan government on Monday said that it would hold an official funeral to pay tributes to the nearly 300 people who...

Popular Uruguayan hot springs discovered while searching for oil

By Raul Martinez and Sarah Yañez-Richards

Paragliding offers new way to view Uruguay River

By Sarah Yañez-Richards

Adele splits from her husband Simon Konecki

London, Apr 20 (efe-epa).- Renowned top-selling singer Adele split from her husband Simon Konecki after a seven-year relation that resulted in one son, her...

Break in the rain allows Easter processions to weave through Spain's streets

By Antonia Méndez Ardila

Mexican muralist chronicles the coming of the conquistadors

Veracruz, Mexico, Apr 19 (epa-efe).- Melchor Peredo Garcia has created six murals to represent the "historical and sociological phenomenon" of the arrival...

Newcomer lands main role in Mexico's grandest Passion Play

Mexico City, Apr 19 (epa-efe).- On this Good Friday, for the first time in 15 years, the role of Jesus in the famed Passion Play in the Mexico City borough...

Thousands of Peruvians bid farewell to Alan Garcia

Lima, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- Thousands of Peruvians gathered on Thursday to say their last goodbyes to former President Alan Garcia, dead at 69 of a...

Mexican hamlet marks 500 years since Cortes came ashore

La Antigua, Mexico, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- In legends, in ruins and in the natural exuberance of the ceiba trees, the legacy of Hernan Cortes lives on in this...

Brazilian inmates' creations to hit runway at Sao Paulo Fashion Week

Sao Paulo, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- A score of male inmates at one of Brazil's maximum-security prisons have been hard at work for months on creations set to...

Slower-paced tango is conquering thousands in Taiwan

By Francisco Luis Perez,

Uruguay theater bus presents comic reenactment of Paysandu history

By Raul Martinez

Mexican gov't has cut p.r. spending by 50 pct., president says

Mexico City, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The Mexican government published new guidelines for communications on Wednesday, with public advertising spending being cut...

Migration north of broad-winged hawks makes stopover in Colombia

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

China launches Martian simulator for budding space explorers

By Víctor Escribano

Dog pulled from Gulf of Thailand to be adopted by rescuer

Bangkok, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- A dog that was rescued by oil rig workers more than 200 kilometers (125 miles) off the coast of Thailand was in good health on...

Mexican singer Chavela Vargas honored on 100th anniversary of her birth

Mexico City, Apr 16 (EFE).- Mexican singer Chavela Vargas will be commemorated on the 100th anniversary of her birth as a woman who lived in a rebellious...

Penitents in Atlixco, Mexico, prepare for painful Way of the Cross

Atlixco, Mexico, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The penitents of this town in central Mexico are preparing for one of the country's most representative Stations of the...

Art invites discussion on Havana's Malecon

By Atahualpa Amerise

The street is a graffiti artist's museum, Brazil's Kobra says

By Alvaro Blanco

Spain's Raphael says films still an interest as he accepts Platino Award

Madrid, Apr 16 (epa-efe).- Spanish singer Raphael, who has appeared in such films as "Digan lo que digan," "Mi gran noche" and "El golfo," said after...

2 stolen, restored Van Gogh paintings go back on display 14 years on

Amsterdam, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- A pair of Vincent Van Gogh paintings that were stolen 14 years ago and found during an Italian mafia investigation in 2016...

Reuters 'distressed' its Pulitzer-winning reporters remain in Myanmar jail

Pangshang, Myanmar, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- Reuters news agency lamented Tuesday that two of its journalists who were part of a team awarded a Pulitzer Prize for...

Harvard's Hasty Pudding honors Marc Anthony with highest Golden Sphinx award

New York, United States, Apr 15 (efe-epa).- Singer Marc Anthony Monday became the first Latin artist to be presented with the 2019 Order of the Golden...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.