Home > Article > Scientist Barrie Schwortz

Scientist Barrie Schwortz

August 5, 2015

imageI was about to post something about Ann Schneible’s CNA Daily News article, How one skeptical scientist came to believe the Shroud of Turin (appearing also on the EWTN site, the Catholic Channel of Patheos and now at least 17 other blogs).

Bad headline, I thought.  Barrie Schwortz knows a lot about science, particularly about matters that pertain to the shroud. He explains it well. He gets it. He respects it. He works well with many scientists. But he is not a scientist.  Colin Berry will react strongly to calling Barrie a scientist. 

It’s not just the headline, however. It is clear that Schneible thinks Barrie is a scientist:

When it comes to testifying to this meeting point between faith and science, Schwortz is in a unique position: he has never converted to Christianity, but remains a practicing Jew. And this, he says, makes his witness as a scientist all the more credible.

I’m confident Barrie didn’t refer to himself as a scientist or imply that he was. I am sure also that Schneible did not, at a minimum, review the biographical sketch elements of her article with Barrie. She should have. 

It is otherwise a good article.  I disagree with my friend Barrie on some matters. In the following, that which appears in quotes is presumably a direct quotation:

This means “there’s a correlation between image density – lights and darks on the image – and cloth to body distance.”

“The only way that can happen is by some interaction between cloth and body,” he said. “It can’t be projected. It’s not a photograph – photographs don’t have that kind of information, artworks don’t.”

clip_image001I don’t share that opinion. I don’t agree that the 3D data (image density) necessarily indicates cloth to body distance.  It may. Nevertheless, it has not been proven. It is bad science to speak about cloth to body distance as though that was the only possibility. While I believe, for many reasons, that the shroud is really Christ’s burial cloth, I cannot go so far as to say that you can rule out art in some form as the basis for the 3D data (see Should we be rethinking the VP8 and 3D images?).  Moreover, it is absolutely wrong to say that photographs cannot have that property (See Good 3D from a conventional photograph).  Nor, do I think you can rule out some scientific or extra-scientific explanation that does not depend on cloth to body distance. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Some “real” scientists think the 3D data represents cloth to body distance and how should I know since I’m not a scientist but then again some “real” scientists think ….

Here is part of what Colin has to say:

There’s just one tiny fly in the ointment. Barrie M.Schworts is  and never has been a scientist. He was not recruited to STURP as a scientist, meaning there should not have been that reference to “fellow scientists”. He was recruited as a Documenting Photographer. Quite what’s in his portfolio of photographs is anyone’s guess, given the copyright restrictions that Schwortz has placed on his work, even that of fellow Documenting Photographer Mark Evans (thanks to Thibault Heimburger for getting some of those crucial Evans pix released, being the basis for most if not all the claims for the Shroud’s allegedly unusual microscopic characteristics).  Were it not for the photoarchive that appeared on Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope, based on the Durante 2002 photos, this blogger would have a mere tens or scores of postings only, not the hundreds he has accumulated over 3.5 years.

One wonders what a real scientist by the name of Barrie M.Schwortz in a parallel universe would have to say about the bowdlerized reference to the image’s 3D properties, making them out to be something near-miraculous, despite easily demonstrated with 2D imprints, even cartoons with no 3D properties. The latter are due to the way the differences in light v dark  on the xy plane are converted to imaginary height on a new vertical z axis….

But Colin, I must disagree with you on that cartoon you cite (see Colin Berry is up with an interesting posting about 3D enhancement).

Categories: Article
  1. anoxie
    August 5, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Colin wrote:
    “This blogger pricked that particular balloon some 2 years ago, pointing out that the 3D- enhanced images not only brought the man’s image up out of the page, but the 1532 scorch marks as well. (Wikipedia credits me with making that finding, but I’ll try not to let it go to my head).”
    Can’t find the credit on wikipedia. But, what was the finding and what was the point?

  2. August 5, 2015 at 7:08 am

    It’s general news and I guess it depends on how you define scientist. In one sense, we are all scientists.

    • August 5, 2015 at 7:39 am

      ” In one sense, we are all scientists.”

      Absolutely, except when asked to give the title of one’s research dissertation, or applying for situations vacant above technician grade, except when it comes to filing research grant applications, except when it comes to getting one’s results published in peer-reviewed journals, except when setting exam questions, except when supervising PhD students or acting as external examiner at other universities, except when refereeing papers submitted for publication. But apart from that, we are indeed all scientists. ;-)

      • timothy.bryan@yahoo.com
        August 6, 2015 at 10:02 pm

        Very impressive description of the duties of a scientist. I would take it from such a description that it would make scientists agree on conclusions and be right about anything they see fit to comment on or look into. Unfortunately, since it does not, and indeed just about any controversy can have scientists disagreeing on just about every facet of it, I would assume that means your opinions are just as prone to error as the layman. In fact, from reading your comments, they may be more so.

        • August 7, 2015 at 3:36 am

          “I would take it from such a description that it would make scientists agree on conclusions and be right about anything they see fit to comment on or look into.”

          You’re at liberty to take whatever you wish from my description, Timothy. But if you know anything about logic, you’ll put it straight back again, filed under non-sequitur…

  3. Louis
    August 5, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Photography is both art and science.

    • Yannick Clément
      August 5, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Technical photography is science. Artistic photography is art. The work Barrie did with STURP was a technical one that fits under the “scientific” tag. Then, after the STURP work, I agree that some of his photos could have been used in a more artistic sense, but that was not his intention for sure.

  4. piero
    August 5, 2015 at 9:46 am

    In 1998 Secondo Pia was able to photograph the Shroud of Turin.
    Barrie Schwortz is a good friend and a well known photographer.
    Perhaps what we have to do is (in a certain manner) similar
    the careful work of a Documenting Photographer…
    In other words: we have to show what is the exact chemical
    composition of thin layers on linen fibrils.
    Then the question to deepen / to answer can be the following:
    How to crack (= discover) the composition of thin layers on linen fibrils?

    I have indicated the following ways:
    – CFM (= Chemical Force Microscopy)
    – AFM/Raman analyses
    – ATR-FTIR
    – SINS (= Synchrotron Infrared Nano Spectroscopy) … etc.

    What do you prefer?
    What is, in your opinion, the best analytical way to follow?
    Are feasible the inherent controls using portable instruments
    (that are used in field work)?
    Which more sophisticated method of intervention
    will be the right solution?
    Where is the best scientific equipe?
    — — —
    Here the last finding (surfing the Web):
    “Statistical methods and library search approaches for fast
    and reliable identification of dyes using
    surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)”
    Federica Pozzi, Simone Porcinai, John R. Lombardi and Marco Leonaa

    But I don’t believe in that way (in order to identify the chemical
    composition of thin layer on linen fibrils of Turin Shroud)…


    >The identification of organic colorants is of high importance in the cultural heritage field, where they are found as paint components and textile dyes, and in forensic science, because of their use in inks and paints, food colorants and textile dyes. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has emerged as a promising technique for the detection of these materials, yet concerns over the sensitivity of SERS spectra of dyes to chemical and instrumental variables (such as pH, choice of SERS substrates and/or aggregants, and excitation wavelength) have prevented its widespread use in analytical applications. Over the last few years, the development of several microanalytical approaches has considerably increased the chances of success in the identification of minute amounts of dyes by SERS. However, the need for searchable databases is still largely to be fulfilled. In this work, we have assembled the core of a comprehensive library which contains 100 Raman and SERS reference spectra of natural and synthetic organic colorants. Experiments to classify 20 query SERS spectra of dyes from a variety of museum objects were conducted using principal component analysis (PCA) and the correlation coefficient (CC) algorithm. … etc. … etc. …

    Anal. Chem., 2009, 81 (8), pp 3056–3062
    Publication Date (Web): March 24, 2009
    Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society

    • August 5, 2015 at 10:11 am

      There may be a simpler way of determining the chemical natue of the image chromopohre, piero, one that would enable one to deduce whether the image is intrinsic to the linen or formed on an “impurity coating”.

      i discovered and reported recently that images made by by new imprinting process with white flour OR even with simple direct scorching can be totally bleached with sodium hypochlorite (ordinary domestic bleach).


      See treated white patch on right, control linen on left.

      Now that may be because my images are not models for the “Shroud” image. That may indeed be the case, since STURP said that ordinary bleaching chemicals did not affect the TS image, that it required diimide, not an everday reagent.

      But it’s not impossible that the bleach in my home is different from that tested by STURP, in which case there’s a chemical probe ready and waiting to be tested.,

      Some pilot work is needed, but it seems likely that the bleaching works by chlorination across double bonds (diimide is said to work in a similar way by hydrogenation). Chlorination tends to increase lipid solubility, making the products easy to extract into organic solvent. They can then be analysed chromatographically and/or by mass spec.The beauty of chlorination is that there are two types of chlorine in nature – Cl-35 and Cl-37 in an approx 3:1 ratio which makes it easy to detect which fragments on mass spec are the chlorinated derivatives.

      Where there’s a will, correction, research grant, there’s a way. All we need do now is find a good Documenting Photographer capable of running the show… ;-)

      • Yannick Clément
        August 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm

        The ultra-superficiality of image no matter if we look at direct-contact-contact zones or in zones where the body was located at a few cm of distance from the cloth, along with the ghosts of color found in the tapes and the famous half-tone effect, strongly push in favor of a chromophore located in a layer of impurities that would have been concentrated on the top-surface of the cloth by evaporation… And the fact that the blood and serum stains do not show any signs of disturbance or damage strongly push in favor of a chemical process coming from some gases and/or molécules released by the dead body of the Shroud man…

      • piero
        August 6, 2015 at 4:46 am

        How long did you treat your linen material with
        sodium hypochlorite?
        Have you tried to examine (and even photographing!) the material only with a magnifying glass and/or under the microscope?
        Anyway, congratulations for your image of that hand …
        But, now, what I truly want to ask is in the following question:
        Can you show us what is the exact difference between your imprint of that hand and a pyrographed hand?
        I have said this phrase with reference the strange ideas about Leonardo and the Corgiat’s work (= pyrography) …
        — — —
        In any case, regarding the problem of “determining the chemical nature of the image chromophore”, I think that AFM-based force spectroscopy in combination with optical microscopy can solve our problem about linen fibrils (and thin layers on lien fibrils!) investigations…
        With the maturation of the AFM techniques, particularly the AFM-based single-molecule force spectroscopy into commercial instruments, now there are at disposal some interesting tools to do some useful work…

        Do you agree on that?

        You wrote:
        >All we need do now is find a good Documenting Photographer capable of running the show…

        Instead I think:
        All we need do now is find the good AFM-Labs …
        in order to work in a serious manner…

        • piero
          August 6, 2015 at 4:58 am

          Errata corrige:

          Instead of:
          — — —- — —
          I think there is our own lack of technical expertise in the fields of
          – AFM/Raman,
          – SINS,
          – etc. … … …
          — —
          … …And, until now I have some doubts regarding the
          quality of the presumed ” highly developed science” that has been needed in order to create the Shroud.
          … In short:
          is it more difficult to make the Holy Face of Manoppello or the Shroud of Turin?

        • August 6, 2015 at 6:00 am

          I’ve some chores to attend to so regard this as a quick holding reply.

          The hypochlorite starts bleaching straight away, but it might take 20-30 minutes to complete for the darker imprints.

          Incidentally, I see from Heller’s book that he tested 30% hydrogen peroxide, stressing how dangerous it was. I’m beginning to think he never tested plain old bleach at all, the kind we keep under our kitchen sinks, bleach being oh so commonplace and 19th century!

          I’ve scarcely begun to examine the imprints in detail. Reason:Who’s interested in the answers? Not here they are not. There’s far more kudos to be gained here by pointedly declaring these imprints look nothing like the “Shroud”. Never mind that the know-alls in question have never ever seen the Shroud, merely photoenhanced pictures of something that is near invisible unless one stands a metre or two away. Best methinks to postpone further research, and choose a better time to share results, recognizing that one’s modelling cannot hope to reproduce the effect of centuries of ageing and probably more besides.

          Pyrographs? Well they require a higher temperature of course, and risk coming with the dreaded fluorescence, and as scientist Barrie M.Schwortzis is ever quick to remind us, any fluoresence immediately disproves the model. Who am I to doubt the word of renowned previously sceptical -now- turned-true believer Shroud scientist Barrie M.Schwortz?

        • piero
          August 7, 2015 at 9:46 am

          In 2002 (after some known controversies and suspicions about that work of restoration) I was admitted to the vision of the relic placed in the display case (and I was together with other, much more famous than myself …) and I could see the Shroud at a distance less than the half a meter, but this, surely, is not a scientific title! Frankly, I was only able to see the wax stains and little else. What impressed me was the apparent great regularity of herringbone fabric (especially when seen as placed in front of me, but admired for its length and apparent regularity) … The sensations can sometimes even deceive us, that’s obvious. In any case, what matters are the accurate scientific tests (of any kind). The other approaches, different, for example: type of mediumship, have always made myself dubious and curious (at the same time).

          In any case (without leaving the field metaphysical / religious, but always still docked with the appearance of the footprint on the Cloth): if Jesus ordered to Sister Faustina Kowalska to paint the picture of the Divine Mercy, probably there must be a reason .. . This does not automatically mean I’m right with my previous observations (= my doubts) about the quality of the alleged “big science” needed to realize the Shroud of Turin …
          So, to be clear, I should clarify my remarks indicating the limits for the presumed “highly developed science” … but I think you understand too (ie: not to risk having to lose myself and you in the long discussions on the details: anamorphisms, etc.!) the subject of which I have spoken to you.

          The fact to be able to view the Shroud in the display case, protected by safety glass, is not the same thing to be able to analyze thoroughly (but on-destructively!) fibrils of the Shroud cloth!

          Here, then, what was the state of my mind, in short, here are the fragments of what I thought:
          “After four years of my simple proposal of using AFM techniques … So …here is what they did !… Unfortunately they were not able to make some accurate analyses in critical areas of folds …
          However the Holy Cloth looks wonderful in its integrity after all centuries … and this despite the manipulations (and small destructions…) made in order to present it free from carbonaceous powders ”

          I have just seen that an european producer indicate the fourth generation AFM product… But in the field of Shroudology nothing seems to be truly approaching this new world of Science, in order to try to solve the Enigma…
          Optical microscopy and AFM techniques can solve our problems.
          For instance:
          I have read that a new system is especially designed for integration with advanced optical methods (FLIM, FCS, FRET, confocal, Raman etc) as well as with Superresolution optics such as SIM, STED or PALM/STORM. … !!!

          Colin, your works can be interesting (I do not think that anyone claim to see you really reproduce the Shroud of Turin …), but I believe you not need to fiddle too much with long experiments of bleachings.
          In any case I remain curious and I want to follow your attempts…

          Incidentally, at home, I use the hypochlorite cold bleaching on cotton white clothes = surely more than 20-30 minutes to complete the treatments…
          I use the same treatment on strong polyacrilic and polyesters (dirty) clothes….
          Am I wrong?

        • August 7, 2015 at 11:43 am

          Hello again piero.I see there are some questions addressed to me right at the end of your lengthy epistle. I don’t pretend to understand the first part where you seem doubtfiul that bleach could serve as a chemical probe (coupled to mass spectrometry). but I understand the last para where you cast doubt on my findings. That’s OK. Honest expressions of doubt are fine, and need to be addressed.

          I have just this minute completed a bleach experiment on a new white flour imprint of my hand entirely for your benefit with approx.5% sodium hypochlorite, taking photographs at timed intervals, i.e. with my watch face in the field of view. I’ll put the results up as the first of tomorrow’s two entries on my site. Log on after breakfast tomorrow, and all will be revealed. It will appear as Entry No.12., and will no doubt assist my current Google rankings that interestingly have improved considerably since adopting the new daily updated/one-posting-per-week format.


        • piero
          August 8, 2015 at 7:48 am

          The definition of geek has changed considerably over time, and there is no longer a definitive meaning. The term nerd has a similar, practically synonymous meaning as geek, but many choose to identify different connotations among these two terms, although the differences are disputed…

          In any case we have to remember (to our patient readers, perhaps without chemical knowledges) what are Hypochlorite bleach solutions = HBs…

          Well, HBs are made from NaOCl.
          Commercial bleaching solutions are obtained by passing chlorine gas through cold, dilute, aqueous sodium hydroxide.

          I want to avoid misunderstandings…

          >The active ingredients in hypochlorite bleaches vary with pH.
          >At pH at pH > 9, OCl − is the only component present.
          >It is the hypochlorite ion in basic solution that is the active ingredient in household bleach, which is typically about 5 to 6 percent NaOCl.
          >The OCl − ion oxidizes chromophores in colored materials, and is itself reduced to chloride and hydroxide ions…

          — — —
          There is a simple system that can check the true validity of what you have prepared your experiment on the fabric …

          A crockmeter…
          >provides a quick and accurate method to determine the amount of color transferred from textile materials (such as fabric, carpeting, yarn and leather) to other surfaces by rubbing. The Crockmeter has also been employed to perform rub abrasion, scuff and / or mar tests on flat specimens.

          >Originally designed to simulate the action of a human finger and forearm, the Crockmeter uses a standard pressure and rubbing motion to provide reliable and reproducible test results.
          >Specimens are positioned on the base of the Crockmeter and held in place with the sample holder. >To prevent the specimen from shifting during testing, a sandpaper pad is provided to place under the specimen.
          >A hand crank moves a reciprocating arm a distance of approximately 100mm.
          >The rubbing action is provided by a 16mm diameter acrylic “finger” which moves back and forth in a straight line with each complete turn of the crank.
          >The reciprocating load arm is weighted to provide a constant 9N load on the sample at all times and a mechanical counter keeps track of completed cycles.


          Unfortunately now I have no more time to deepen your research and explain my own point of view!

        • August 8, 2015 at 8:10 am

          It’s interesting you should have latched onto the question of mechanism so quickly, piero, but don’t rush to conclusions. It’s true that the oxidizing action of hypoochlorite is ascribed to the hypochlorite ion (OCl-). But one’s nose tells one that there’s free chlorine present as well (one would not expect to smell the involatile hypochlorite ion). So it’s possible, indeed probable, that one can have oxidation AND chlorination going on at the same time. Now oxidation is not the way to bleach “Shroud” image fibres, as judged by seeing no effect with hydrogen peroxide, even at 30% concentration. I strongly suspect that the bleaching we see here, and which MIGHT have been seen if hypochlorite had been tested (?) by STURP, is due to chlorination.

          Mechanism? Diimide “uniquely” (?) was found to bleach “Shroud” fibres. Diimide is said to be highly selective in its action, destroying chromophores that have conjugated double bonds by converting them to saturated single bonds:

          -CH=CH – + NH=NH -> -CH2 -CH2- + N2 (gas).

          I propose that hypochlorite bleach does the equivalent, using chlorine instead of hydrogen:

          -CH=CH – + Cl-Cl (from bleach) -> – CH(Cl) – CH(Cl) –

          That’s not to say you haven’t got oxidation occuring elsewere, in the same or different molecules, but it’s the saturation of double bonds that results in bleaching, and oh boy is it fast and efficient (in my model systems).

          What do you think piero ? ;-)

  5. August 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    These attempts to elevate technical expertise to science are just downright ridiculous and demeaning to real scientists. To call oneself a scientist one has to adopt the scientific method, which is to propose an hypothesis and then TEST it. Anyone can propose a hypothesis, but if they try to inflict on the general public without bothering to test it, then they are anathema to real science.

    Anyone recall those quad mosaics which were hypotheized to represent regions of different chemical constitution? Was that hypothesis put to the test, e.g. by seeking chemical correlates?



    That’s pseusdoscience, masquerading as science. 90% plus of sindonology is pseudoscience, much of it emanating from demob-happy members of the STURP team.

    • Yannick Clément
      August 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      What is truly pseudo-science is someone who propose an artistic hypothesis of image formation, while completely putting aside some crucial facts like all that’s coming from the blood and serum stains indicating that the Shroud is a real burial cloth of someone and that the image most probably comes from an interraction (probably natural) between his dead body and the cloth, which, in itself, is enough to discard any artistic hypothesis of image formation. Now, that’s what I call “pseudo-science”… Bad science is another good term.

  6. Louis
  7. Stan Walker, MD
    August 5, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    It’s funny that Colin believes the forgers – from medieval times – have still outsmarted him – conceptually and scientifically. They were pretty smart scientists those darn medieval forgerers.

    • rick
      August 5, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      good one doc!

    • August 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      Am not sure what prompted the comment from Stan Walker MD, but it’s an opportunity to make a point. Until recently I’d assumed that the two-stage imprinting model, using a real person as template, flour paste as imprinting medium, and any one of at least 3 developing agents, was entirely original thinking. Not so: here’s what John Heller wrote towards the end of his 1983 book (well written ,except for the flyleaf that he hopefully did not see and approve):

      “Sam Pellicori, a champion of the body-contact hypothesis, had done some interesting experiments. In three separate experiments, he had placed oil, lemon juice and perspiration on his fingers. Then he placed linen on top of his hand and pressed it gently to his flesh. He then placed the cloth samples in an oven at low temperature to produce an accelerated aging effect. In each case there was indeed a yellowing of the contact area. he had brought the linen samples with him. the team examined them and, although there was a surface effect, several of us insisted that we could see some capillarity in several of the fibrils, which is not the case of the Shroud.”

      My experiments match those of Pellicori’s almost down to the last detail, but with one crucial difference. My imprinting medium is macromolecular, indeed whole cell in size, namely the crushed endosperm of wheat grains (“white flour”) so greatly reducing the theoretical risk of “capillarity”, though I still have to do detailed microscopy.

      If this model is only approximately corrrect (and it’s gratifying to know that Pellicori, a STURP team investigator was thinking along exactly the same lines 30 years ago) then the science and technology were well within the capability of a medieval forger if needing only white flour paste and a hot iron or oven (not nitric acid as initially suggested). What’s more there’s a clearly stated rationale for doing it the way suggested – namely to simulate an ancient sweat imprint left on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen/sindon en route from cross to tomb, pre-empting any notions of fancier imaging mechanisms (laser uv light, neutrons etc) occuring on winding(?) cloths/othonia much later, or due to miraculous events that are non-reproducible in the laboratory – and thus a scientific dead end, no pun intended.

      This blogger does not do scientific dead ends, and places great emphasis on having a coherent narrative from start to finish. But the technical details – like ringing all the changes with imprinting technique, oven temperatures etc – he prefers to leave to others. What concerns me is scientific feasibility – not reproducing every tiny detail of the Shroud image. There’s no compelling need to re-forge a forgery. One need only show that the science is feasible and credible, requiring no lasers etc. Naturally, I can only speak for myself. I can’t speak for those convinced that the Shroud is beyond known science.

  8. Sampath Fernando
    August 5, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Very interesting discussion.

    I don’t know the person who created an image on the Shroud is a Scientist or Artist or Photographer or a any other person or the creater of this universe?

    However I can describe that person as a one of the greatest scientist as he created this image before highly developed science came to existence. Still so call scientists are struggling to explain how the image was formed.

    • Yannick Clément
      August 5, 2015 at 7:40 pm

      You’re surely talking about the greatness of God’s nature? :-) If this is the case, I fully agree with you!

  9. Sampath Fernando
    August 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Of course, the image is the work of that greatest scientice.

    • Yannick Clément
      August 6, 2015 at 7:27 am

      He could well have done it through the laws of nature he designed… I see no problem with this supposition!

  10. Louis
    August 8, 2015 at 9:28 am

    With all this talk about science and pseudo-science would anyone say that Stephen Jay Gould was a pseudo-scientist just because he kept an open mind?:

  11. August 8, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    PS: have just been reminded of another more direct mechanism by which free hypochlorous acid (of which there will be some even in alkaline bleach as part of an acid/.base equilibrium) reacts directly with double bonds in alkenes and other organic compounds to form chlorhydrins:

    – CH = CH – + HOCl -> – CH(OH) – CH(Cl) –

    Only one chlorine is inserted via this mechanism, but the effect on a coloured substance in which the chromophore depends on conjugated double bonds would be the same – bleaching.

    • piero
      August 11, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Of particular interest are the reactions
      that occur on mixing sodium hypochlorite
      (bleach) with alcoholic reaction masses
      (either organic or aqueous) as this can lead
      to the generation of thermally unstable, highly explosive
      alkyl hypochlorites, (methyl hypochlorite in particular
      being classified as a high explosive having a
      similar explosive potential to TNT).

      Then there is a particular and interesting case,
      because, as we have read:
      Methanol and NaClO can form methyl hypochlorite
      (CH3ClO) which can explode…

      Preferred IUPAC name:

      >Methyl hypochlorite is an unstable and highly toxic
      compound that can be produced from reacting methanol
      with hypochlorous acid.
      >It is extremely unstable and can decompose
      explosively giving off toxic fumes.
      >Its instability is caused by the oxidizing power of
      the hypochlorite group, which can easily undergo
      a redox reaction with the methyl group.

      — —
      Here another compound:
      Ethyl hypoclorite.
      >… When Chlorine first act on alcohol
      Ethyl hypoclorite and hydrogen chloride
      are produced, the yellow colour of the solution
      being due to the hypochlorite.
      >In the presence of excess of unchanged alcohol
      the Ethyl hypochlorite very quickly breaks down into
      acetaldehyde and hydrogen chloride…

      — —

      >The first reported work on alkyl hypochlorites – specifically
      methyl and ethyl hypochlorite – was carried out by Sande-
      meyer(4,5) in the 1880’s. He showed that the materials were
      relatively insoluble in water and had a tendency to separate
      out as a yellow oil. This oil decomposed on heating or
      exposure to light.
      >In the 1920’s Chattaway et al. carried
      out work on other hypochlorites such as propyl and butyl. …

      >…recent data from Bozzelli et al.
      suggests that the enthalpy of formation of
      methyl hypochlorite is significantly higher at around
      264.5 + 6.2 kJmol. This does seem to be a more accep-
      table value when compared to that of hypochlorous acid
      itself which is quoted as 274.5 kJmol

      — —
      Here a rough fromula about
      t-Butyl hypochlorite

      Molecular Formula:
      — —
      But all this interesting Chemistry has nothing, or little, to do
      with Textile Bleaching!

  12. piero
    August 12, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Bleaching with sodium hypochlorite

    The high reactivity of this bleaching agent imposes softer operative conditions than hydrogen peroxide (pH 9 – 11 and temperatures not above 30 ºC). Otherwise there is a risk of damage to the cellulose fibre.

    The bleaching stage is followed by an anti-chlorine treatment in order to eliminate completely the hypochlorite and decompose the chloroamines generated during bleaching…

    • August 12, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Given hypochlorite quickly bleaches my scorch and other (Maillard?) images, one wonders what its effect might have been on the “Shroud” image, piero, circa 1978. Did STURP test it? Maybe not. Had it been tested and found to bleach, it would have immediately shot Walter McCrone and his “red ochre/iron oxide” conclusion down in flames Hypochlorite is a bleach for carbon-based (“organic”) compounds. Inorganic iron oxide cannot be bleached.

  13. piero
    August 13, 2015 at 5:08 am

    First of all:
    I admit that I have not tried to center my previous
    messages on hydroxychlorination to chlorohydrin
    (because I am bothered online), as you wrote:

    – CH = CH – + HOCl ——> – CH(OH) – CH(Cl) –

    The bleaching mechanism with chlorine-containing
    compounds is based on saturation or rupture of double bonds.

    Mock G N (1985),
    Bleaching, in Encyclopedia ofPolymer Science and Engineering,
    Mark H F (Ed.), Vol. 2, 2nd edn., John Wiley, New York, 310-323.

    — — —
    Unfortunately I cannot adequately respond to your
    message about the question of lack of use of hypochlorite
    (and the works by STURP) because (in the past) it was
    stolen a USB-key of mine containing aa copy of the STURP
    past research programs (this fact happened several months ago,
    maybe two years ago! …).
    — —
    In any case I am curious to observe a careful
    comparison regarding the hypochlorite (a substance
    that quickly bleaches your scorch) and the effect
    from an experiment with diimide (on the same treated textile
    sample. For example: you can run the test on another angle
    of the same textile sample!).

    • August 13, 2015 at 5:46 am

      But the bleaching action of hypochlorite is quick ( a few minutes in most cases) piero. So why bother with a side-by-side comparison? It’s hard to imagine diimide being any faster, but even if it was, then so what? There are so many factors affecting chemical kinetics that it’s hard to see what point is served. What matters is the principle. Did STURP overlook to test hypochlorite? Would hypochlorite ave bleached the “Shroud” image? If so, what conclusions might have been drawn (e.g. that would quickly exclude McCrone’s tunnel vision – due to his over-reliance on a microscope to mis-identify iron oxide as the chromophore) and whether there might have been an opening, hitched onto Ray Rogers’ know-how with pyrolysis mass spectrometry to explore the nature of the “Shroud” chromophore (admittedly destructive)? Might it be something other than the supposed dehydration of carbohydrates?

      The half-tone effect (if true) suggests an all-or-nothing action on a minor constituent of linen, as does the strong absorption in the uv that might account for coloration seen with Di Lazzaro’s intense laser-generated uv. Is he right to assume it’s cellulose being coloured, given that’s a bulk component, generally regarded as transparent or unaffected by uv? Cue Hugh’s suggestion on this site, November 2012, that lignin may be the susceptible chromophore. Lignin absorbs and bleaches in the uv and visible spectrum. My money’s on the lignin. I might try doing some experiments with sodium metabisulphite to see if that blocks certain modes of linen coloration (bisulphite is used in paper-manufacture from wood pulp to solubilize or otherwise deal with lignin).

      Back now to preparing the first instalment of a new weekly posting, addressing the claim from a certain over-prescriptive, over-dogmatic MD that my current images fail to respond to 3D-rendering programs. Is he not aware that all inputs into ImageJ give a little 3D response whether one wants it or not (based on the non-zero default setting for z, the vertical axis)? One has only to input 2D diagrams with no 3D history to see the truth of what I’m saying.Take-away message – always incorporate an internal 2D marker when using ImageJ.

      I may post a link later in the day, once the ‘First Entry’ for the present Week 33 (late start) is complete..

      • piero
        August 13, 2015 at 11:18 am

        I said I want to see this comparison
        (= hypochlorite treatment versus diimide treatment)
        just to be able to show in a decent way, to all concerned, what you get…

        Lignin is an interesting argument.
        I tried to find something about the past intervention
        (year 2000) by Cardamone…
        But, I have found very few on the following text:

        >Linen fibers are made of parallel bundles of these cells, cemented together with lignin and hemicelluloses. Details can be found in a paper presented by Jeanette Cardamone [“The Turin Shroud Past, Present and Future,” International Shroud Scientific Symposium (Torino 2-5 March 2000)]. >There are images of flax fibers, drawings, and text explanations.
        >She has said that: “Any fuzziness could be due to abrasion that causes micro-fibers to develop on the surface of the fiber and, critically, remain attached to it.”
        >In other words, things that look like filamentous bacteria are to be expected on linen fibers.

        — — —
        J. Cardamone is a textile chemist/conservator who was present at the Symposium (Villa Gualino) of March 2000…
        — — —
        I believe we need to show the values of enthalpies…
        — —
        Here an extremely vague link:

        • piero
          August 14, 2015 at 5:17 am

          Yesterday, rethinking what you wrote about “Mc Crone’s tunnel vision” and the mis-identification: “iron oxide as the chromophore” I was able to solve the simple problem. In other words: the use of diimide can be understood starting from the fact of iron oxide presence, because … if you treat cotton stained with iron oxides then you create an hole on your cotton cloth.
          The same can happen on linen fibrils. So, if you destroy your proof you cannot win your trial in tribunal.
          This was the point to consider.
          Probably they (= “STURP”) had feared iron’s oxides presence.
          Then I hope you want to pardon my previous waste of time with useless discussion.
          Am I wrong in my conclusion?

          Should I return with my thinking in a sort
          of “cycle of Poincaré”
          (links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poincar%C3%A9_recurrence_theorem or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_return)
          speaking for hours of Textile Chemistry,
          turning round the simple problem?

          Try to treat a cloth with particles of rust and
          then try to use NaClO in order to show what happens (at different pH)…
          And also I think you can adequately distribute rust particles in order to make pinholes in a cloth… But I have some doubt about the regularity of the edges of these holes..
          — — —
          Here few lines about Oxalic acid:
          >Aside from rust removing, stain removing and bleaching, Oxalic acid is also used as a reducing agent in developing photographic film…
          — — —
          In Industrial works the bleaching equipment should be made of stainless steel, to avoid the catalytic degradation of the cellulose in presence of copper and iron [tank construction is stainless steel (AISI 316, etc.)].

          Before to end, few other “chemical words”.
          If you want to become a good worker (…sorry!)
          in this textile field, then you can add an organic sequestering agent to chelate the ferrous ions and prevent redeposition or adsorption of iron compounds onto the fibers, and recovering the bleached substantially iron-free fibrous cellulose.
          But this is near unfeasible when you have to work in a fast manner on few linen fibres…

        • piero
          August 14, 2015 at 5:22 am

          Errata corrige (if I am right…):
          >you cannot win your case in a trial

          Instead of:
          >you cannot win your trial in tribunal.

      • Thibault HEIMBURGER
        August 13, 2015 at 1:38 pm

        Colin: “Back now to preparing the first instalment of a new weekly posting, addressing the claim from a certain over-prescriptive, over-dogmatic MD that my current images fail to respond to 3D-rendering programs. Is he not aware that all inputs into ImageJ give a little 3D response whether one wants it or not (based on the non-zero default setting for z, the vertical axis)? One has only to input 2D diagrams with no 3D history to see the truth of what I’m saying.Take-away message – always incorporate an internal 2D marker when using ImageJ.”

        This “over-dogmatic MD” knows since many months or years that any kind of 2D input gives a 3D response using Image
        This is is the problem, not the solution..

        I will explain that in detail after your instalment.

        • August 13, 2015 at 5:10 pm

          I have just this minute completed a careful comparison of the 3D response of my own hand imprint from the flour paste model with that of the hands of the man on the “Shroud”.
          See current Topic 2 on my new posting


          Every effort has been made to make the comparison as fair as possible using optimized settings in ImageJ that rely almost entirely on the lateral lighting/shadow-making effect and, importantly, with no added gain on the z scale above ImageJ’s minimum default setting (0.1). Has anyone ever made that comparison before under such controlled and defined conditions? Garlaschelli maybe, with his powder frottage? I must now go and re-read his paper, which he thoughtfully sent me some 3 years ago, especially as a new powder model is shortly to make an appearance! It’ll be interesting to see how it compares with the TS and wet-imprinting.

        • Sampath Fernando
          August 13, 2015 at 10:25 pm

          Hope one day Colin can get an image only on the top of a surface of a linnen giving 3D coding.

  14. Thibault HEIMBURGER
    August 14, 2015 at 2:43 pm


    I am tired, REALLY TIRED, of your comments about ME on your blog.

    ” Dr.Persistently Negative”
    ” he who dishes out his “science” as if medicine to treat disease”
    ” …Because his negative nitpicking, from countless sniping and indeed hostile comments ..”
    “Here’s Dr.Negative’s response to Topic 1 below:
    “Once again, I disapprove strongly of the way he uses and abuses Dan Porter”s site. He’s been allowed to use it as a permanent billboard for two pdfs (see margin) specifically attacking my ideas over a long period of time, with no facility there for responding to his haughty criticism, the latter based for the most part on some poorly-designed experiments”

    And much more …

    You ( Colin) suggested a new model for the TS image.
    You (Colin) have shown the results of some experiments based on this model.

    Looking at your results, I think that they do not match some of the most important properties of the TS image.
    Shame on me !!!!

    If you don’t accept any kind of criticism, please forget me.

    However, I have seen your new post on your site.

    My comments later.

    But remember that my critical comments are not ” hostile comments”.

  15. August 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Imagine one was a science teacher, attempting to model a rainbow on a sunny day with a spray of fine water from a hose. Suppose the lesson were to be interrupted by the headmaster, pointing out that the model is silly,, that is does not generate a complete arc through 180 degrees, that the colour balance is not quite right, that the teacher is not properly acquainted with the refractive properties of water droplets etc etc. TH is the headmaster, I am the teacher. I refuse to engage with him further until such a time that he realizes that a model intended to iidentify the broad scientific principles does not have to generate a perfect replica.

    I say there’s been substantial progress these last few days, switching from flour paste to dry flour as imprinting medium. Click on my blue monicker to see Topic 3 in my current Week 33 posting. See the fuzzier image that is so important to our haughty headmaster, and the ever closer correspondence between 3D renderings in ImageJ of an imprinted image of my hand juxtaposed with those of the TS hands.

  16. August 15, 2015 at 5:26 am

    ” He’s been allowed to use it as a permanent billboard for two pdfs”

    I guess you would be allowed to use it as a permanent billboard as well had you written a pdf. I still don’t get the ground for such a complain, all your comments, posts, images are promoted as a permanent newsfeed. Dan could hardly do anything more to push your work forward.

    • August 15, 2015 at 8:59 am

      One never ceases to be amazed at the way a few well (!) chosen words from persistent internet trolls can distort the record. Cue the scientific method and objective reporting. Sure, it takes time to correct the record, but so what? Most that appears on internet sites, especially as guest comments, is ephemeral. Those who wish to correct the record set up their own sites, and just beaver away, knowing there are rarely quick fixes to major controversies. Incidental flak and trolls especially are like weather – they are always there, good days and bad days. It’s simply a case of timing one’s best messages to coincide with good weather days.

  1. August 10, 2015 at 5:50 am
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