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Diamond Light Source to uncover secrets of rare scrolls

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Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory (RAL), Oxfordshire

RAL was named after Edward Appleton , who made long-range radio and radar possible by discovering that radio waves with a wavelength short enough to penetrate the lower region of the ionosphere will be reflected by an upper region. This upper region is now called the Appleton or F layer, the layer where radio waves travel best. Ernest Rutherford was the tremendous thinker who established nuclear physics.

The Diamond Light Source is the latest remarkable addition to RAL. Diamond's "X-ray beams, 100 billion times brighter than a medical X-ray" allow it to reveal the hidden composition of material. "The machine works by propelling electrons at great speeds around a giant tunnel". The Guardian reports that the Diamond will be used to read scrolls which are too fragile to unroll. I imagine this is just one of many interesting jobs for Diamond.

RAL sounds fascinating. Built on an old RAF airfield, the facility hosts particle physics, microelectronics, atmospheric sciences, space science, spectroscopy and renewable energy research.

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