The Sensation of 1884 London: ‘The Sepulchral Chamber’ at Sir John Soane’s House

If only we could have seen this!


From The Guardian,


An illustration of ‘the Sepulchral Chamber’ at Sir John Soane’s house, viewed from the head of the sarcophagus, 8 September 1825. Photograph: 1996-98 AccuSoft Inc./Soane Museum



Sir John Soane’s museum recreates architect’s vision of pharaoh’s tomb

by Maev Kennedy


“When the architect Sir John Soane finally managed to install his greatest treasure in his extraordinary combined home, studio and museum in London, he threw a three-day party to celebrate.


The sarcophagus of the pharaoh Seti I, carved from a single vast block of translucent alabaster, cost Soane £2,000 after the British Museum turned it down as too expensive. Getting in the 3,000-year-old relic, the size of a small boat and weighing several tonnes, involved knocking down a sizeable chunk of his back wall, and demolishing his unfortunate housekeeper’s sitting room.


Over three days and nights, almost 900 people trooped through his rooms and into the basement renamed “the Sepulchral Chamber”, where the sarcophagus glowed eerily, lit by candles placed inside. The museum recently recreated the experiment, and deputy director Helen Dorey recalled the extraordinary effect when the whole block lit up like a lantern, and the thousands of tiny human figure hieroglyphics carved into every inch of stone seemed to flicker and move. “It was a truly shiver down the spine moment,” she said…”


For the rest, and some great pictures, click here.




Watch This Jacobean Painting Come Back to Life….

The conservation process is amazing to watch.



From Atlas Obscura,


Watch a Jacobean Painting Emerge From 200 Years of Grime in Seconds
A mysterious 1618 lady, revealed.

by Natasha Frost


“Two hundred years ago, someone—an aspiring art conservator, perhaps—took a brush and coated a 1618 oil painting of a lady in red with a thick coat of ostensibly protective varnish. Over the decades, the varnish naturally discolored, turning first yellow and then brown, until the whole painting appeared covered in grime. Now—in a flourish—those two centuries of discoloration are gone.


Philip Mould is an art dealer and presenter on the popular BBC art program Fake or Fortune. He bought this painting at auction and posted videos of the dramatic conservation process as it happened. In the videos, Mould applies a substance—a gel-solvent mixture—to the surface of the painting, works it in, and then wipes it back to reveal the painting in its near-original glory…”


Click here for the rest as well as the videos of this in action!




CERN Scientists Conclude that the Universe Shouldn’t Exist

Does it seem a little like the world is having some sort of apocalypse lately? Well, the CERN scientists are taking that thought a little further with the idea that perhaps the universe shouldn’t exist in the first place…


The BASE experiment at the CERN antiproton decelerator in Geneva.
Stefan Sellner, Fundamental Symmetries Laboratory, RIKEN, Japan


From Cosmos Magazine,


Universe shouldn’t exist, CERN physicists conclude

A super-precise measurement shows proton and antiproton have identical magnetic properties, writes Cathal O’Connell.


“One of the great mysteries of modern physics is why antimatter did not destroy the universe at the beginning of time.


To explain it, physicists suppose there must be some difference between matter and antimatter – apart from electric charge. Whatever that difference is, it’s not in their magnetism, it seems.


Physicists at CERN in Switzerland have made the most precise measurement ever of the magnetic moment of an anti-proton – a number that measures how a particle reacts to magnetic force – and found it to be exactly the same as that of the proton but with opposite sign. The work is described in Nature.


“All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the universe should not actually exist,” says Christian Smorra, a physicist at CERN’s Baryon–Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment (BASE) collaboration. “An asymmetry must exist here somewhere but we simply do not understand where the difference is.”


Antimatter is notoriously unstable – any contact with regular matter and it annihilates in a burst of pure energy that is the most efficient reaction known to physics. That’s why it was chosen as the fuel to power the starship Enterprise in Star Trek.


The standard model predicts the Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter – but that’s a combustive mixture that would have annihilated itself, leaving nothing behind to make galaxies or planets or people.


To explain the mystery, physicists have been playing spot the difference between matter and antimatter – searching for some discrepancy that might explain why matter came to dominate.


So far they’ve performed extremely precise measurements for all sort of properties: mass, electric charge and so on, but no difference has yet been found.


Last year, scientists at CERN’s Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus (ALPHA) experiment probed an atom of anti-hydrogen with light for the first time, again finding no difference when compared with an atom of hydrogen.


But one property was known only to middling accuracy compared to the others – the magnetic moment of the antiproton…”


For the rest, click here.


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