Laser divestment entered the field of art conservation through a nonlinear sequence of positive accidental events (serendipity) that involved the cinema industry, the invention of spread-spectrum and frequency-hopping communications, nuclear space propulsion, and oceanography. The unlikely chain of events began with the invention of a secure military communications system by a Viennese motion picture actress (1942). A first evaluation of the novel communications concept took place during a high-altitude nuclear test (TEAK) over the Pacific Ocean in 1958. The secure radio link proved to be a failure; however, analyses of the backscattered electromagnetic radiation contributed to the realization that nuclear-explosion plasmas need not be spherically symmetrical. Nobel Laureate Freeman Dyson exploited this nuclear option to guide in the design and prototype development of the ORION spaceship that was to rendezvous with the planet Saturn in 1970.
KeywordsCinema Industry Laser Cleaning Scripps Institution Nuclear Option ORION Spaceship
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.