A webinar titled Secrets of Artifacts Unveiled by Physics

30 June, 2021

Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (SUAD) hosted a webinar titled “Secrets of Artifacts Unveiled by Physics” on 23rd of June by Dr Philippe Walter, research director at The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and director of the Laboratory of Molecular and Structural Archeology at Sorbonne University, in the presence of Prof Frédéric Decremps, director of the Master in Physics at Sorbonne University and Dr Valérie Le Guyon, Head of Sciences and Engineering Department at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

The webinar gave insight on how artifacts were originally made and were altered over time, and how materials science and non-destructive techniques play a major role in providing information about the structure and the composition of these artifacts.

The webinar addressed non-destructive testing technologies and methodologies, which are techniques used to evaluate the properties of a material, component, structure or system for characteristic differences, and are combined with methods widely used in many fields, from aerospace and oil and gas, to forensic science and archeology and art. The webinar also highlighted how these priceless artifacts need to be handled with extreme particular caution and require non-destructive testing, which results in providing the needed information directly from the surface of the objects, in-situ in the museums or in the archaeological sites.

Two cases were presented during the webinar; the first is a prehistoric musical instrument, which is thought to be at least 18,000 years old and is the oldest seashell horn discovered in a cave in France, and the second was a golden necklace found in Greece and probably related to the myth of the Golden Fleece.

In addition, the webinar provided an overview of the cross-disciplinary master’s degree in physics – specialisation in non-destructive characterisation with applications for cultural heritage that Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi has recently launched.

Dr Valérie Le Guyon, Head of Sciences and Engineering Department at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi commented “The Master in Physics – Specialization in Non-Destructive Characterisation with Applications for Cultural Heritage offered by Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi is unique in the way it has been designed, where it combines three major focal areas: advanced physics, non-destructive characterization and cultural heritage. This programme not only provides students with multi-disciplinary knowledge and training that enables them to work and communicate seamlessly with specialists from other fields, but it is also well-balanced, with an equal mixture of theoretical courses and practical activities utilizing state-of-the-art technologies and portable equipment.”

She added “The master’s degree is awarded by Sorbonne Université in Paris, and upon completing the programme, students will become highly competent graduates with versatile scientific capabilities. They will have the opportunity to pursue their studies in a PhD programme, or take on a variety of roles in the job market, such as cultural heritage scientists, non-destructive analysis specialists, applications or instrumentation engineers, product managers, quality engineers in addition to being able to work in various fields like material sciences, luxury goods industry, forensics, insurance, audit, oil and gas, aerospace, semiconductors industry, environment as well as in the archeology, cultural heritage and art domains.”

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