Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nano Romans

This is cool: turns out the Romans engaged in some pretty serious particle chemistry manipulation for their times.  As explained in an interesting article at Smithson Magazine the Roman goblet, pictured below, had scientists puzzled for years as to why it appears green when lit from in front, but red when lit from behind:


According to the article,
The mystery wasn’t solved until 1990, when researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were nanotechnology pioneers: They’d impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt. The exact mixture of the precious metals suggests the Romans knew what they were doing—“an amazing feat,” says one of the researchers, archaeologist Ian Freestone of University College London.
Really amazing story, well worth the read![ht: realclearscience.com]