Geo Week News

February 22, 2012

Jurassic CSI doc added as SPAR keynote

Looking 300 million years into the past with the help of a light brighter than a million suns

HOUSTON – National Geographic enthusiasts have seen him on “Jurassic CSI,” and subscribers to Science, Nature, Scientific American, Discover, and many more are likely familiar with his work. Now attendees to April’s SPAR International conference will get a chance to hear directly from Dr. Phil Manning, head of Paleontology Research Group at University of Manchester and adjunct associate professor at UPenn, and how his groundbreaking research in using 3D data collection and modeling can help us learn ever more about the past.

His work includes everything from fossil trackway analysis and soft tissue preservation work to investigations into the reality of how dinosaurs walked and geochemistry and elemental analysis. Attendees will be particularly interested in his synchrotron-based imaging techniques and application of lidar-based imaging to both landscape and skeletal modeling.

In his talk at SPAR, “Dinosaurs, Space Shuttles and Synchrotrons,” Manning will share “the fascinating secrets that applications of 3D imaging are unlocking from the distant past.”

“A number of iconic fossils will be introduced to the audience, and their high-tech analyses explored. The ability to unpick the chemistry and morphology of fossils yields important insights to the past. But why are we interested in chemistry, and in the past? Simply: chemistry can define the origins, synthesis, function and alterations from chunks of rock to the once-living bones of dinosaurs; these chemical ghosts reveal secrets that will have benefits for understanding Earth processes today and in future. The work being undertaken at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source (SSRL) is at the cutting edge of science and is using light brighter than a million suns to chemically image priceless samples. Advances in this multidisciplinary field have the potential to have global impact in disciplines way beyond paleontology.”

See Manning speak at SPAR International, April 15-18, in Houston.

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