astroengine writes "Earlier this year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded nearly $500,000 to scientists from the Getty Conservation Institute, Stanford's National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) and the Aerospace Corporation to study the chemical and physical properties of ancient Attic pottery. Why? Well, the project will improve our understanding of iron-spinel chemistry, which is critical to the advanced ceramics used for thermal protection in aerospace applications, such as in the heat shield tiles used by spacecraft during atmospheric reentry."
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