Colloquium: Nov. 15, 2017 at 4 PM

WFU Physics Colloquium

TITLE: “What is fossilization? Casting new light (and electrons) on an old question”
SPEAKER: Professor Elizabeth Boatman
Department of Engineering,
Wake Forest University,
Winston-Salem, NC

TIME: Wed. Nov. 15, 2017 at 4:00 PM
PLACE: George P. Williams, Jr. Lecture Hall, (Olin 101)

There will be a reception with refreshments at 3:30 PM in the lounge. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


Our accepted understanding of the structure-property relationships in bone tissue, and in particular, its intrinsic damage tolerance behavior and repair mechanisms, falls short. Yet, if our understanding as materials engineers could be improved, the result would be significant advances in structural materials engineered based on the mimicry of biological structural tissues (i.e., biomimicry). For many reasons, extinct species (especially dinosaurs) are an important source of data for such pursuits, despite the obvious problem: the bodies of extinct species typically persist only as fossilized skeletal elements. As it turns out, the process of validating the persistence of those specimens using advanced synchrotron light- and electron-based techniques is inherently rewriting our definition of “fossilization”, in addition to informing our understanding of the structure-property relationships in bone.

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