Past Event · Public Lecture

Discovering the Colors of Fossil Creatures

Presented by Nick Edwards

Until recently, the colors of ancient life forms existed only in our imaginations. In museums and on the big screen, we have seen fossil creatures portrayed in striking colors, but those reconstructions were based on very little scientific evidence. However, over the past decade or so, new fossil discoveries and new technologies have given us the chemical evidence needed to work out the actual pigmentation of long-dead organisms. X-ray imaging, which can detect minute traces of the original pigments, has played an important role in that story. This lecture will explore that new area of scientific study, including discoveries made with advanced X-ray imaging techniques at SLAC.

About Nick Edwards

Nick Edwards is a research associate at SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. He obtained his PhD in paleontology from the University of Manchester in 2012, and afterward held a postdoctoral position there. During that time, he acquired an affection for synchrotrons. Their intense X-ray beams allow researchers to detect trace amounts of chemical elements still preserved in fossils after hundreds of millions of years, and even to map the patterns of these elements across a fossil. In 2016, Nick joined the X-ray imaging group at SSRL, where he supports work at the X-ray beam lines and helps carry out X-ray imaging of fossils, ancient manuscripts, paintings and other objects of cultural interest.

 

 

Past Event · Public Lecture

Discovering the Colors of Fossil Creatures

Presented by Nick Edwards

Public Lectures
video still frame from lecture about fossil colors
Video
Date
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
12:30–1:30 p.m. PDT
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