Hugh Pickens writes "A British X-ray with a light ten billion times brighter than the sun is to be used to reveal the secrets of statues, mummies, sarcophagi and other ancient artifacts to analyze their composition and how they were made. Three Egyptian bronze figurines from the British Museum will be among the first treasures to be investigated by the Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing beamline, or Jeep, using intense radiation known as synchrotron light which allows scientists to see through solid objects and to show structural details that cannot be seen by standard X-rays. 'It might give us the chance to look at the contents. The Egyptians used to stash things inside their statues. We also get very fragile inner sarcophagi or mummy wrappings,' says Jen Hiller, a scientist working on the beamline. In Grenoble a team has used synchrotron radiation to discover the first known fossilized brain, of a fish-like creature; details are to be published this month. In California it is being used to decipher the Archimedes palimpsest — a text by the Greek mathematician that was overwritten in medieval times."
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