Skip to comments.Muons Meet the Maya
Posted on 12/09/2007 7:31:44 PM PST by neverdem
Physicists explore subatomic particle strategy for revealing archaeological secrets
At its most glamorous, the life of an experimental high-energy physicist consists of smashing obscure subatomic particles with futuristic-sounding names into each other to uncover truths about the universeusing science's biggest, most expensive toys in exciting locations such as Switzerland or Illinois. But it takes a decade or two to plan and build multibillion-dollar atom smashers. While waiting, what's a thrill-seeking physicist to do?
How about using some of the perfectly good, and completely free, subatomic particles that rain down on Earth from space every day to peek inside something really big and mysterious, like, say, a Mayan pyramid? That's exactly what physicist Roy Schwitters of the University of Texas at Austin is preparing to do.
High-energy particles known as muons, which are born of cosmic radiation, have ideal features for creating images of very large or dense objects. Muons easily handle situations that hinder other imaging techniques. Ground-penetrating radar, for instance, can reach only 30 meters below the surface under ideal conditions. And seismic reflection, another method, doesn't fare well in a complex medium. With muons, all you need is a way to capture them and analyze their trajectories.
Besides probing pyramids in Belize and Mexico, physicists are applying the muon method to studying active volcanoes and detecting nuclear materials. The concept sounds out of this world, but it's really quite simple. When cosmic rays hit the Earth's atmosphere, collisions with the nuclei of air atoms spawn subatomic particles called pions that quickly decay into muons that continue along the same path. Many of the muons survive long enough to penetrate the Earth's surface. Because of their high energy, the particles can easily pass through great volumes of rock or metal or whatever else they encounter. However, they are deflected...
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...
The “Crystal Skull” episode.
The Olmecs pre-dated Teotihuacán
The last scenes of “Star Wars: Episode IV” were filmed in the Mayan city of Tikal. In fact Mayan literature contains a reference to “star wars”, battles tied to astronomical events.
I suppose you are talking about the Pyramid of the Sun”. I last climbed it in June of 1999. Going up is easy. It rained when I was at the top.
The steps on the Pyramid of the Sun are almost straight up, but try coming down when they are wet. We were at Teotihuacán on June 21st (the summer solstice) and there were a bunch of pagans there doing their thing as well.
Alvarez used to bristle when people said he found no hidden chambers in the pyramid. It's not that he found no hidden chambers, it's that he found there were no hidden chambers.
Did you see that giant willow tree in some little town nearby? I also liked the marketplace in Oaxaca.
The Oaxaca market is nice, but the Sunday market in Tlacolula (on the highway between Oaxaca City and Mitla) is better.
So these muons are yielding a new cowsmology, I gather.
Did you buy any of those black clay whistles and flutes in Mitla? Some girl was selling them. I just plain didn’t want any and told her no. She thought I was regateando and kept lowering her price. I kept saying no until out of frustration she went down to something really ridiculous. Then I said yes. She got really mad. I then told her to forget it because I didn’t want anything like that anyway. She made some insulting remark about gringos. I told her I didn’t buy anything because of her attitude.
I read it as more like reading wind speed by using a rain gauge.
Did you say you were there in 1977? My wife lived there until moving to the states in 1982. I don't know if you remember it or not, but there is a compound and airstrip on the left hand side of the main road into Mitla (between the village and the higher mountains). That is the translation center for the Instituto Lingüístico de Verano (Summer Institute of Linguistics). My father-in-law oversaw it's construction, and today heads up maintenance and new construction. He is 77 years old, and acts like he's 50. My mother-in-law (a year younger) does all of the book-keeping and administrative stuff.
Not if you knew where they were!
When I was first in college I thought of doing something like translating for Wycliffe. Our college group visited them in Mexico City January of 77 but I was sick and couldn’t make it. I recovered by the time we went to Oaxaca (and that Baroque church is quite beautiful). I ended up teaching school in the Dominican Republic and then coming back for graduate school.
And that is why they will punish you.