Battle of the Chemists

Updated since posting:  Try Battle of the Chemists. This is a download of the Power Point.

imageIn the past two days there have been some comments about Adler, Heller and McCrone in the posting, It’s the Curmudgeon in Me.

Here is a link to a PPT presentation Russ Breault did for the American Chemical Society many years ago.  It compares McCrone’s findings and methodology with that of Heller and Adler.

Note: With Windows 10 I can only view the presentation with Google Chrome. Microsoft Edge fails to format correctly. I have not tried any other browsers.

Here is the Table of Contents:

  1. The Shroud of Turin
  2. McCrone
  3. Battle of the Chemists  -  Whose science is better?
  4. The Chemistry Controversy
  5. Adler and Heller Summarized
  6. Procedures
  7. Controls
  8. Incidental Debris
  9. Question
  10. Microscopic Characteristics
  11. More on Iron Oxide
  12. Organic Pigments?
  13. The Body Image
  14. Similar chemistry to a light scorch
  15. Blood Images
  16. Characteristics
  17. Control Samples
  18. Blood Chemistry
  19. Red Particles
  20. Iron Particles
  21. Why Iron Oxide?
  22. Random Particles
  23. Summary
  24. Last Word on McCrone

8 thoughts on “Battle of the Chemists”

  1. “It compares McCrone’s findings and methodology with that of Heller and Adler.”

    No it doesn’t.

    It gives a masterly summary of Heller and Adler’s work, findings and conclusions. It barely mentions McCrone, gives no indication whatever of his methodology and only the barest summary of his findings. It is emphatically not a comparison. It is a curt dismissal. As such, it does not demonstrate where McCrone went wrong, which would have been helpful, and demonstrates an unscientific partiality.

    For instance, McCrone examined 10 more slides than Heller and Adler, and found red ochre adhering to fibres on 18 of them, all those which corresponded to image or blood areas, and none on non-image areas. He illustrates his findings on page 105 of ‘Judgment Day for the Turin Shroud.’ This was the foundation of his ‘painting’ hypothesis.

    Well, did he or didn’t he? Are the photos falsified fabrications? Are all those red particles not iron oxide at all? If they are related to the retting procedure, they would be found on non-image as well as image fibres, and if they are related to the blood, they would be found on blood areas but not image areas.

    McCrone may have been completely wrong, and he was certainly somewhat abrasive, but simply to ignore his work does not enhance the credibility of authenticist commenters.

    1. I suspect that perhaps Heller, Adler and other scientists who had studied the Shroud, came to a conclusion that McCrone’s work lacked credibility because he only ever relied on his overly self-confident knowledge of microscopy, seemingly shunning other more recent methods of analysis such as spectrography. In one reported interview when asked why he thought that red ochre was present, he fundamentally attributed the conclusion to his own experience of microscopy, virtually saying “Because I said so”. I don’t believe that that’s the way science is meant to work.

    2. Hugh, you are right but it’s only a Power Point presentation.

      Yes, the foundation of McCrone’s “painting” hypothesis is based and only based on the particles.
      This is is main error.
      The problem of the Shroud image is NOT a question of particles.
      MC himself recognized that the color of the image is mainly due to the yellow fibers.

      Click to access thibault%20final%2001.pdf

  2. I believe that he should enhance
    the technical aspects (see also:
    the meaning of spectroscopy in
    Analytical Chemistry!) in these slides.
    See, for example, some possible
    and useful words about the use
    of SPMs controls or of Raman spectroscopy
    techniques, etc. …

    Here as reference, the article:
    “Surface-enhanced Raman scattering for
    identification of organic pigments and dyes
    in works of art and cultural heritage material”
    Kui Chen, Marco Leona, Tuan Vo-Dinh

    Sensor Review.
    04/2007; 27(2):109-120.

    Here the Abstract:

    >Purpose – Identification and characterization
    of organic pigments and dyes used in works
    of art and cultural heritage material such
    as prints, drawings, manuscripts, paintings,
    and textiles can provide important information
    for dating, authentication, and conservation
    treatment of these objects and studying
    art history in general.
    >Applications of surface-enhanced
    Raman scattering (SERS) for this
    purpose have recently attracted
    increasing attention of both academic
    scientists and museum researchers.
    >This paper aims to review the latest
    development involving the emerging
    applications of SERS for the analysis
    of organic pigments and dyes used
    in works of art and cultural heritage material.
    >Design/methodology/approach – First,
    the importance of organic pigments and
    dyes in the studies of works of art and
    cultural heritage material and the
    challenges in their identification and
    characterization are briefly summarized.
    >This is followed by a discussion on
    sampling considerations in the context
    of art and archaeology.
    >Then the fundamental principle of SERS,
    SERS instrumentation and different types
    of SERS substrates are reviewed.
    >Finally, selected examples of SERS
    applications to the identification of
    organic pigments and dyes, including the
    analysis of a couple of samples of artistic
    and archaeological interest, are
    presented and discussed.
    >Findings – The last few years
    have witnessed the emergence
    of SERS as a non-destructive or
    micro-destructive technique for
    the characterization of organic
    pigments and dyes found in artistic
    and archaeological objects.
    >Spectroscopic and microscopic
    measurements using SERS have
    provided some novel information
    and answers to a wide variety of
    >However, SERS application to the
    field of art and archaeology is still
    in the fledging stage of development
    and requires closer collaboration
    between academic scientists and
    museum researchers.
    >But the range of possible
    applications is broad.
    >Future trends point to a
    strong need for the development of
    portable instruments for field applications.
    >Originality/value – By compiling
    this review, the authors hope
    to direct more attention toward
    SERS and bring together the
    expertise in the scientific, museum
    and art community to further
    explore the possibilities of SERS
    in rapid and direct identification
    of pigments and dyes under field conditions.
    — — —
    Here I repeat the invitation:
    Why do not you contact Dr. Marco Leona,
    [The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York !]
    who is an expert in this field?

    1. Here what I have just found,
      surfing the Web:

      >McCrone Associates has a
      Renishaw inVia Raman system
      coupled to a Leica microscope
      and equipped with 514 nm, 633 nm
      and 785 nm excitation lasers,
      edge filters with a cutoff at about
      100 cm-1, and mapping capabilities.
      The system is operated using
      Renishaw WiRE software and
      GRAMS is available for spectral analysis.

      Unfortunately the resolution
      does not seem to be really
      very great for [extremely exact] analyses
      about the Shroud (as we instead
      would need to be… if I am right in my claim):

      >…The relatively small spatial resolution provided
      by the visible laser (about 1 micrometer) allows
      us to identify contaminants and inclusions
      in situ in many cases. …


      1. Here, as “useful” generic reference
        (= “Technical Bibliography”), the book:

        Raman Spectroscopy Applied to Earth Sciences
        and Cultural Heritage

        J. Dubessy, M.-C. Caumon , F. Rull
        The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 20 Nov 2012 – 500 pages

        >Spectroscopic methods such as
        Raman are used to investigate the structure
        and dynamics of matter.
        >They are essential for the study of
        the different types of mineral or organic
        materials produced at the Earths surface
        or interior.
        >As a result of technological improvements in gratings, detectors, filters and personal computers in the last decade, many micro-Raman spectrometers have become plug-and-play instruments, very easy to use and available at a lower cost than the early Raman microprobes.
        >Thus, many laboratories in Earth Sciences
        and Cultural Heritage are equipped with
        these new spectrometers.
        >Commercial, portable Raman spectrometers
        working in the field have also contributed
        to the spread of Raman spectroscopy.
        >Poor levels of education in terms of
        Raman spectroscopy in undergraduate
        courses in Earth Sciences make it difficult
        for individuals to obtain information of
        the highest quality relevant to Earth
        sciences and Cultural Heritage.
        >This volume is, therefore, timely. … etc. …

  3. Dan, Edge does not use javascript and since the slideshow does, Edge will never present correctly unless they add this language to the browser. I viewed it with Opera and it displays fine. I expect any other broswer who can use javascript will also work fine. I wish Russ would make this available in either PPT or PDF.

    I think the importance of this slideshow indicates the lack of precision and measurement in McCrone’s work. Dave said it well, “Because I said so,” was McCrone’s legacy for the Shroud and other work. While it might be impressive, it lacks any scientific basis or authority.

    1. Andy, I will get that done. The methodology I mentioned in the PPT slides is primarily related to how McCrone analyzed the particles on the mylar tape without removing them from the tape. McCrone only found particles that were birefringent–two indexes of refraction indicated the substance was iron oxide. Adler and Heller removed all the particles from the tape fearing the tape would interfere. They found both blood which is non-birefringent and they also found iron oxide. Why didn’t McCrone find the blood that Heller and Adler found? Because he was sloppy in his methodology. My contention therefore is that Heller and Adler used a much more careful approach resulting in more accurate data.

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