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A ‘Physics of ancient materials’ Symposium at the European Physical Society Meeting in Berlin, March 2018

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The Joint Conference of the Condensed Matter Divisions of the German Physical Society (DPG) and of the European Physical Society (EPS) will hold a Symposium devoted to the ‘Physics of ancient materials’ in Berlin in March 2018.

Physics of ancient materials

From paleontological to archaeological or art materials, ancient materials provide a fundamental window on our Past. They are essential to elucidate the origin and evolution of life forms on Earth. They are tangible testimonies of past Human activities. They are key to assess anthropic impacts on Earth climate and environment. Their chemistry has been the subject of numerous workshops and conferences but, apart in limited scientific areas (e.g. mechanics of architectural materials), only recently did the Physics of ancient materials start to be considered with greater attention.

This symposium will focus on aspects where Physics can be enriched by properties observed and studied in ancient materials. Some of these materials have been thoroughly optimised in past societies, mostly in an empirical manner, to a point where they can therefore be considered as model systems for their optical behaviour (lustres, glazes, pigments, coatings, etc.), their durability (specific alloys, built heritage, etc.), their mechanical resistance... The complex and heterogeneous character at multiscale of their composition, structure and morphology, in relation with their environment through time, governs their long-term evolution and physical properties : percolation and transport, absorption and reactivity, ageing and mechanical behaviour.

New imaging approaches now provide the length scale dynamics from the nano- to the macro-scale to explore these physical properties. The specific constraints raised by ancient materials are also a source of methodological inspiration, from advanced instrumentation to the mitigation of radiation damage occurring during the study of precious samples and artefacts. This symposium will also trigger new interdisciplinary interactions that are of the highest relevance in the context of the setting up the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS), which has entered its preparatory phase in February 2017, and of the European Heritage Year of 2018.


This symposium is organized by Loïc Bertrand (IPANEMA and Synchrotron SOLEIL, Université Paris-Saclay, France) and Herman Terryn (Faculty of Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)


Confirmed invited speakers are :
* Uwe Bergmann, SLAC Stanford, CA, USA
* Marta Castillejo, CSIC, Madrid, Spain
* Pierre Levitz, Phenix laboratory, UPMC, Paris, France
* Ludovic Pauchard, FAST, Orsay, France
* Emily Rayfield, University of Bristol, UK


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