Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nerds to the rescue Will muons reveal Maya mysteries?
Physicists are closing in on new techniques to put ancient archaeological sites through a cosmic "CT scan" to look for hidden chambers, using showers of subatomic particles known as muons.

The idea was first put to the test in an Egyptian pyramid four decades ago - but researchers saw no surprises in that experiment. Now, scientists are hoping to enlist a new generation of muon detectors to solve long-running mysteries of the Maya.

Roy Schwitters, a physicist at the University of Texas in Austin, provided an update on his team's plans for archaeological scans on Sunday at the annual New Horizons in Science briefing, presented in Spokane, Wash., by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. You can click through an early version of his PDF presentation here.