SLAC Public Lecture Series
Saving the Mary Rose: Synchrotrons and the Preservation of a Tudor Warship
The Mary Rose, built in 1511, was the flagship of King Henry VIII. She sank in 1545 while en route to confront the French fleet in battle. The ship lay undersea for 440 years before being raised in 1985. The restored Mary Rose is being constantly treated to preserve the wood structure, but in 2002 a new problem arose that began rapidly destroying the ship. Studies of the relevant sulphur chemistry using X-rays from SLAC's SSRL synchrotron diagnosed the problem and suggested methods for its solution. One of these, tested by experiments at SSRL, involves specially made nanoparticles that attack the causes of the acid production. This lecture will present the amazing story of archeology, chemistry, and physics that preserves this precious artifact and gives us a glimpse back into Tudor times.