More on exhibition of the Shroud of Turin in Málaga, Spain

An exhibition of the Shroud of Turin has opened at the Cathedral of Malaga. It will run through May. This was previously reported in the posting, Upcoming, exciting exhibition on the Shroud of Turin in Málaga, Spain

It is now open and according to BLOG DE INGLÉS (I put in a couple of tweeks to the English in []):

This [exhibit] has an audio guide to accompany the visitor on a tour of each of the rooms. Also, the exhibition features dozens of pieces of art, coins and manuscripts, illustrating the course of the famous relic tour to reach Turin (Italy), where it is today.

image[Click for YouTube Video] Of the twelve rooms are perhaps the most attractive room and forensic science room where visitors can see the studies conducted so far by the leading experts in the field, contributing data on the Shroud and the image that contains .

In the forensic room, the viewer will attend a 3D analysis will reveal aspects of torture and death of the man who was wrapped in a sheet from a perspective never seen before. Also, visitors can compare information from different forensic elements of the Shroud.

In this room also shows the forensics of another key, [the Sudarium of Oviedo] which, according to tradition, [is] preserved in the Cathedral of Oviedo. Both objects are compared and analyzed together in a forensic scientific study, providing data on the wearer.

In the science room sets, on the other hand, studies that have attempted to explain how the image may have originated, some scientists have said was formed by the energy transmitted by a body (that Christians linked with the Resurrection of Jesus ).

-Scale recreation of the tomb where Jesus could be buried, according to research conducted in the Holy Land by archaeologist Florentino Díez, an expert in this field.

-The facsimile of the Shroud, made for this exhibition by a laboratory in Turin under the authority of Pope Benedict XVI. Your image and structure is accurate in every one of the original itemize.

-The body of the Man of the Shroud, a key made by the renowned sculptor Juan Manuel Miñarro, scholar and member of EDICE Sindone.

Ash Wednesday


Lest we forget: Comment Promoted

imageDaveb of Wellington New Zealand reminds us:

Today New Zealand observed a national memorial service on the first anniversary of the devastating 6.3 earthquake that hit the city of Christchurch at 12:51 pm on February 22, 2011, with the loss of 185 lives, many of them from overseas, and the destruction of many buildings and thousands of homes. About 30,000 people attended the service and it was televised nationwide. We appreciate the condolences expressed by Hilary Clinton US Secretary of State and by His Royal Highness, Charles Prince of Wales. Children released 185 monarch imagebutterflies, a beautiful sight, in memory of those who were lost. The service had a strong religious component, the final blessing being given by the American lady bishop of Christchurch, [Victoria Matthews]. It is remarkable how in a nominally secular country, how religion comes to the fore in observing moments of national grief.


In New Zealand, “Lest we forget” is the refrain in "Recessional," sung as a hymn  to the tune "Melita" ("Eternal Father, Strong to Save").

Colin Berry’s idea is untenable, and heat cannot produce a superficial coloration

imageAfter Colin Berry posted his statement about image formation, referenced here, I personally requested comments from members of the Shroud Science Group. This is Paolo Di Lazzaro’s answer to me and other SSG members who might not be expert enough in physics to understand why Colin Berry’s model (without experiments) is untenable. Now with Paolo’s kind permission those notes to SSG members are being published here:

Dear Dan and All:

I checked the idea of Colin Berry in the website you quoted.  In short, from a physics point of view, his model is untenable, especially concerning the depth of coloration. Let me explain why.

Berry wrote: “The scorching will initially be confined to those parts of the fabric that are in immediate contact with the hot metal; no air gap is permissible, since radiated heat will not scorch white linen. What is more, the scorch will be confined to the outermost fibres of the thread, because the scorch will tend remain trapped within the first-encountered fibres, rather than being able to “jump across” to adjacent fibres. Why is that? It is because the resistant cellulose cores that are unaffected are able to conduct away heat rapidly, bringing the temperature of the hot template down to below that which will induce scorching Is it realistic to suppose that cellulose fibres could conduct away heat without themselves becoming degraded? Yes. I believe it is.”

It is quite easy showing the above assumption is wrong, and it is one of the few cases where it is faster doing the experiment than to explain the theory. According with a paper quoted by Berry, the onset of pyrolysis in hemicelluloses is at about 220°C.  We have heated a 5-cents euro coin at about 230 °C in contact with a linen cloth. Just 5 seconds after the coin reached the max temperature the whole cross section of threads in contact with the coin was colored.  After15 seconds all the thickness of the cloth was colored and the round shaped image of the coin appeared on the opposite side. After checking in our Lab, we repeated this easy and small-size experiments in the RAI3 TV studios (GeoScienza) to demonstrate that heating linen cannot give a superficial coloration. See starting from the minute 16:30.

After the experimental demonstration, let’s approach the basic elementary physics that explain why the idea of Berry is untenable, and heat cannot produce a superficial coloration.

The hot metal transfers energy(heat) to the primary cell wall (pcw) of the linen fibrils by contact. From a microscopic view, transferring energy by contact means the hot (i.e. fastly moving)atoms of metal hit hemicelluloses molecules transferring momentum, thus increasing both amplitude and velocity of the motion of hemicellulose molecules around the equilibrium position (centroid). As a consequence, hemicellulose increases its temperature.

In the regions of contact between pcw and cellulosic medulla, we still have a transfer of heat by contact, like in the previous metal-pcw case. The temperature of the medulla will increase.  In the region where there is no contact (e.g.,a small air gap between pcw and medulla) we have heat transfer by irradiation.In fact, every material emits radiation having a spectrum peaked at a wavelength which depends on its temperature: the higher the temperature, the shorter the wavelength. This is the well known phenomenon of the black body emission, governed by Planck’s law, Wien’s law and so on (first year exam for students of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Engineer).

As an example, at 20 °C the walls of a room emit radiation with a broad spectrum, peaked in the far infrared at about 10-micrometers wavelength. In the case of hemicelluloses at 200 °C the pcw emits infrared radiation peaked at 6,1 micrometers. In the case we are considering, the 6-micrometer wavelength will interact with the cellulose of the core of the linen fibril (medulla), exciting vibrational levels of cellulose that decay in heat thus increasing the temperature of the medulla.

In addition, a well known optics law tells us the penetration depth of the interaction between radiation and medulla cannot be smaller than the wavelength, that is, not smaller than 6 micrometers in this case. This fact alone explain why infrared radiation cannot produce a superficial coloration of fibers.

By the way, it is not possible that “the resistant cellulose cores that are unaffected are able to conduct away heat rapidly” (see above Berry’s statement) because of elementary fluid dynamic equations (a classical engineering problem), of a not convenient area/volume ratio of cylinders (elementary geometry) and because Berry assumes a exothermic pyrolysis of cellulose, that is,by definition, a runaway process, extended in time.

In summary, when heating a linen cloth by a hot metal in contact, well known physics models foresee the pyrolysis of the whole fibers and threads, and this is exactly what we observe in the experiments.

Useless to say, it is all the approach of Colin Berry to find a middle age technology able to create the Shroud image that is hopeless: just consider the half tone effect.  It could not have been made by medieval forgers because they would need a modern microscope to observe and then control their micrometric-scale coloration.

All the best


Of the crowns of fibers and the Shroud of Turin image

Daveb of Wellington writes by way of a comment:

Colin’s observation that coloration is concentrated on the crowns of the topmost fibres must I think be significant, and has to be the signature of some kind of contact process, if indeed it was a process.  I suspect he might well be correct in saying that it couldn’t be radiation, as radiation would give a more pervasive result extending to other fibres, and beyond the crowns.

There may be another possibility that explains imaging at the crowns of the fibers.

imageRogers was confident that residues of starch and saccharides were there on the cloths in what he called an impurity layer that he believed was only 200 to 600 nm thick. It is thought, perhaps, that after hand spinning the fibers of the flax plant into yarn, individual hanks of yarn were bleached and dried. When it was time to weave the yarn (thread) into cloth, warp threads were strung vertically on a loom so that weft threads could be passed over and under them. On the loom, the warp threads were lubricated with crude starch to make weaving easier. This reduced friction and lessened the chance of fraying. When a length of linen cloth was finished it was removed from the loom and washed in the suds of the Soapwort plant (Saponaria officinalis). After washing out most of the starch, the linen was laid out across bushes or hung to dry.

Washing, even with repeated rinsing, is not perfect. Soapy residues and small amounts of starch remain in a water soaked cloth. As the cloth dries, moisture wicks its way to the surface to evaporate into the air. As the water makes its way to the surface it carries with it dissolved starch fractions and saccharides: glucose, fucose, galactose, arabinose, xylose, rhamnose, and glucuronic acid. As the water evaporates into the air these chemicals are deposited as a super-thin coating on the crown of the fibers, the very outermost fibers of the thread. Chemists say this superficial residue of reactive saccharides is at the evaporation surface of the cloth.

Thus linen cloth made in this ancient way, with the yarn bleached before weaving, lubricated with crude starch and washed in Saponaria officinalis is ready for image formation. All that is needed are the right reactive chemicals and a mechanism to get the right quantity of the chemicals to the cloth’s surface in the right places at the right time. The amines that come from a dead body before it decomposes, cadaverine and putrescine, are just what is needed, according to Rogers.

Many things would affect how the images would form as the amines met the saccharides: ambient temperatures and humidity in the tomb; the body chemistry of the corpse influenced by diet, disease and possible trauma; the application of different burial spices; and the quantity of residue and evenness of its coating on the cloth. Even the tightness of the weave that affects porosity is a factor. Nonetheless some imaging would take place. The process would continue until the reactants were exhausted or until fluidic bodily decomposition products formed and ravaged the images and the cloth. Soon the cloth would rot away along with the body. However, if at the right moment, the cloth and the body it enshrouded become separated, and if the tomb had been opened so that cloth might be preserved, we might very well have something of a picture of the once enshrouded body on the shroud.

Rogers did some experimenting. He produced the color and some very course images that showed some fuzzy resolution. As he noted: “You can argue all you want about resolution. The Maillard colors are somewhere on that cloth. Where do you think?”

It is important to note that linen cloth, as typically produced after the twelfth century and into our era, will not produce amine/saccharides images. In the first century each hank of yarn or thread for the cloth was bleached before weaving. Such bleaching did not result in uniformly white yarn and because many hanks of yarn were required to make linen cloth, the cloth was not uniformly white. We see this, for instance, in the Turin Shroud. It has a broad variegated appearance where yarn from one hank was joined with yarn from another batch during weaving. The yarn ends were laid side by side pressed together. The overlapping ends are often visible to the unaided eye and correspond to streaks of different off-white color in the weave.

Bleaching after weaving, as was done in the medieval bleaching fields of Europe and as it is done in modern mills, prevents a reactive coating. Bleaching after weaving makes for better quality linen but it does not allow an image to form.

It is also especially important to note that there will be two such chemical coatings on the cloth. The side of the cloth that faced the sun and dried the fastest will have a dominant coating of starch fractions and saccharides from the soap. The other side will have a lesser coating. Both sides will react to the amines since some of the vapors will diffuse through the cloth. Indeed, we should have a more distinct image on one side of the cloth and a less distinct image on the other side. That is the significance of the discovery of a second facial image on the Shroud as recently reported in the peer-reviewed scientific Journal of Optics of the Institute of Physics in London (April 14, 2004).

From spectral analysis, microscopy and image analysis, we see that this is how the cloth of the Shroud of Turin was manufactured. From this, and from a modern knowledge of pathology and chemistry, we can hypothesize that this was how the images were formed on it. Are there many open questions? Of course.


Dr. Larry Brice talks with Professor Gary Chiang on the Shroud of Turin

imagePresbyterian Minister, Dr. Larry Brice talks with Professor Gary Chiang about the Shroud of Turin

Reachout for Life Program 1123 WEB – YouTube

Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus on Shrove Tuesday

From A Reluctant Sinner:

. . . Pope Pius XII decreed in 1958 that the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus was to be kept on the day before Ash Wednesday, commonly known as Shrove Tuesday. Of course, the devotion to the Holy Face is an ancient one, which has been observed by many saints since the earliest centuries, St Thérèse of Lisieux (also known as St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face) being the most well-known. It is also a feast that, despite the efforts of some liturgical ‘reformers’, is still kept in many dioceses throughout the world, including Rome.
The most recent Mass of the Holy Face of Jesus for Shrove Tuesday was approved by Pope John Paul II in 1986 . . .

imageShrove Tuesday is variously known in different traditions and among different peoples as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras (French speaking), Máirt Inide (Irish), Fastnacht Day (Pennsylvania Dutch and other German communities), Carnival (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian), Terça-feira Gorda (Portuguese), Malasada Day (Hawaian), Fastelavn (Danish), Sprengidagur (Islandic) Užgavėnės (Lithuanian), Pączki Day (Polish American).

But throughout England, North America and in particular among Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran traditions, Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Day. If I don’t make the connection, someone else will.