It may look like a rather unassuming beige box, but the Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer (IR) is a vital piece of high technology scientific equipment, key to a host of exciting discoveries made, and no doubt to be made, at the Penn Museum.
That is why Dr. Patrick McGovern, Scientific Director of the Museum's Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory, was so delighted to receive the June 2011 donation of a "new" used Fourier-transform IR from The Hershey Company of Hershey, PA, replacing their current instrument, donated by the Dupont company in the mid-1990's, and rapidly growing obsolete.
"The infrared spectrometer has been both the starting point and the workhorse of our research programs," Dr. McGovern said. "It's helped make possible a range of exciting discoveries, from the earliest fermented beverages in the Near East and China, to ancient chocolate drinks from Central America, to a Royal Purple dye factory in Lebanon, once homeland of the Phoenicians, to medicinal wine for one of the earliest pharaohs of Egypt, and more."
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