The following conference update was posted today, September 28:
Posted by St. Louis Shroud Conference Administrator on Sunday, September 28, 2014
There is exciting news regarding the program: the Saturday evening open discussion about Future Testing of the Shroud will be moderated by Dr. John Jackson, Ph.D. co-founder of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project team (STURP) that studied the Shroud in 1978.
Another option was recently added for transportation from and to the airport: see www.gobestexpress.com.There is a 10% discount if you make reservations online.
Regarding food options, the Drury site states "The Plaza dishes out a free Hot Breakfast every morning to all of its guests. Whether you’re a firm believer in biscuits and gravy or you’re a sausage and egg loyalist, you’ll find a wide assortment of delicious items. You’ll also find some savory items in our lobby where we serve popcorn and soda from 3-10pm daily and free hot food & cold beverages at the 5:30 kickback® every evening from 5:30-7pm."
The Drury also has a restaurant if a more elaborate dinner is desired. The hotel also sits right in front of a large mall, so attendees can find plenty of places to eat for lunches and dinners.
For the informal gathering on Thursday night, cookies, water, tea and soft drinks will be provided starting at 6 p.m. through 10 p.m.
Keep checking this site for any last minute updates.
Where future research on the TS image is concerned, it’s time to discriminate between, on the one hand, the STURP view that saw the image as pyrolysed carbohydrates and, on the other, the idea of it being some kind of Maillard reaction product. (That’s whether or not one buys into Rogers’ putrefaction vapour model (it not being the only means of ending up with a Maillard product).
The problem one is up against, from a chemical standpoint, is the superficiality of the image and its chemistry, relative to the bulk carbohydrates of flax fibres. It’s a tall order, analytically-speaking, to distinguish image signal (or should that be signature?) from substrate background noise.
There is a possible way it might be done, though it’s admittedly a bit of a long shot.
Ray Rogers employed the technique of pyrolysis mass spectrometry, which basically fragments a specimen and then collects and measures those fragments according to their m/e (mass to charge) ratios. It was that technique that allowed him to pick up a signal for hydroxyproline in the “blood”, an important finding, even if his conclusions were open to differing interpretations.
So how might that technique be refined to discriminate between pyrolysis and Maillard products? The crucial difference is the small amount of additional Maillard-reacted nitrogen in the image compared to the non-image areas.
If one simply took image and non-image areas and performed pyrolysis-mass-spec, looking for differences in fragmentation pattern that could be related to known chemistry, there would almost certainly be a signal/noise problem, as already stated. But there’s a possible way of filtering out some of that noise, or at any rate pinpointing the crucial fragments.
Adler and Heller discovered that the TS image is bleachable with diimide (N2H2), which is a powerful reducing agent. The latter can be reasonably assumed to decolorise chromophores by adding hydrogen atoms across double bonds. So the trick is to do difference spectrums, before and after diimide treatment, and look for all those fragments that differ by m/e =2, corresponding to addition of two hydrogen atoms per molecule or fragment thereof. Having located those key fragments, one then looks up their m/e values, giving preference (where any ambiguities might exist) to those which contain the element nitrogen, bearing in mind there can be no Maillard reaction without a source of that element in the form of amino (-NH2) groups.
If one finds nitrogen in the key diimide-reducible fragment, then one should think Maillard reaction. If one does not, then think simple pyrolysis.
PS: I see from googling that one can purchase deuterated and tritiated diimide (N2D2 and N2T2 respectively). Those reagents would greatly simplify the task of spotting the reduced fragments on mass spectrographs, given they contain heavier isotopes with m/e ratios 2 and 3 times greater than hydrogen.
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