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Date: Friday 12th August 2022

Time: 9:30am - 6pm

Location: Theatrette, Level 2, Powerhouse Museum

Price: Free

How has nuclear science helped the Powerhouse examine its collection objects? Hear from scientists as they unveil techniques in this panel discussion.

The exhibition is an outcome of a partnership between Powerhouse and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) that has examined collection objects from a materials research perspective using nuclear and accelerator-based methods. Through this partnership we are mutually learning more about the Powerhouse collection and the benefits of applying nuclear methods to cultural heritage.

Throughout the day, scientists, museum staff and cultural experts will unveil techniques and processes used on these cultural objects in shared conversations.

9.30am Coffee and tea and registration

10.00am Welcome

10.20am Dr Joseph Bevitt and Dr Deborah Lawler-Dormer: Invisible Revealed as a case study for cultural heritage analysis

11am Dr Joseph Bevitt and Dr Daryl Howard: Synchrotron methods applied to cultural objects

11.30am Speaker TBC: Focus on First Nations object analysis

12 noon Break – lunch provided

1pm Dr Floriana Salvemini and Min-Jung Kim: Katana Swords, Jue Vessel and Asian temple objects

1.30pm Professor Kenneth Sheedy and Dr Vladimir Luzin: Analysing ancient coin manufacture with nuclear methods

2pm Dr Meredith Freeman and Dr Rachel White: Conservation and cultural objects

2.30pm Break - Afternoon tea provided

3pm Matthew Connell and Dr Ceri Brenner: Accelerator-based methods for cultural heritage studies


Dr Joseph Bevitt is a senior instrument scientist on ANSTO’s DINGO radiograph/tomography/imaging station, and scientific coordinator for the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering. He is collaborating with museums and universities internationally to pioneer the use of neutron and synchrotron X-ray microCT (3D imaging of objects using neutrons or X-rays with micrometre resolution) in the areas of palaeontology, archaeology, and cultural heritage.

Dr Ceri Brenner is an accomplished physicist, innovator, internationally recognised leader in industry applications of plasma-based accelerators and Leader of ANSTO’s Centre for Accelerator Science. She is passionate about accelerator technology and interested in the application of accelerator science in the design of next-generation healthcare technology, and in addressing grand societal challenges, such as environment and climate studies.

Matthew Connell is Powerhouse Acting Director Curatorial, Collections and Programs. His research and curatorial interests include computing history, mathematics history and STEM education and learning. His current research projects relate to post-disciplinary curatorship, curating art/science collaborations, interactive immersive systems, audience engagement and learning in maker spaces, and the industrial and cultural implications of digital manufacturing technologies. He is also an Adjunct Professor, iCinema, UNSW Centre for Interactive Cinema Research.

Rod Dowler is the National Education and Engagement Manager for ANSTO and manages the ANSTO Discovery Centre which has built a comprehensive national education program over the past decade. He believes that is critical for the nuclear industry to apply marketing principles and to better understand its stakeholders when creating education and outreach programs.

Daryl Howard is a Senior Scientist at the X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) beamline at the Australian Synchrotron. His PhD was in infrared and near-infrared laser spectroscopy complemented with computational chemistry methods. Now in the area of X-ray research methods, his research interests include large area elemental mapping and XANES imaging techniques applied to a variety of sample types.  Fields of research include cultural heritage, environmental change and forensics.

Min-Jung Kim is Powerhouse Curator of Asian Arts and Design. She is interested in cross-cultural interpretation of museum collections and was awarded the 2012 International Council of Museums (ICOM, UNECO) Australia Award for International Relations. Kim has published and lectured widely on Korean textiles, ceramics and metalworks, and Japanese fashion. Exhibitions she has worked on include Japanese folds (2015), Reflections of Asia (2018) and 500 Arhats (2021).    

Deborah Lawler-Dormer is Powerhouse Research Manager and was lead curator on Invisible Revealed. Her work is transdisciplinary and often engages art, science, and technology in collaboration with industry, tertiary and community partners. She is a visiting Research Fellow, UNSW Expanded Perception and Interaction Centre, and Adjunct Research Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Recent publications include a chapter in The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Posthumanism (2022).

Dr Vladimir Luzin is an instrument scientist at ANSTO’s Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering and co-responsible for the KOWARI Residual Stress Diffractometer. His fields of expertise include materials science, specifically stress, and texture analysis by means of neutron, X-ray diffraction, synchrotron radiation, and electron back scattering diffraction (EBSD) in connection with material’s (mechanical) properties.

Dr Floriana Salvemini is an instrument scientist at ANSTO and co-responsible for the DINGO thermal-neutron radiography/tomography/imaging instrument at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering. Her expertise is in neutron imaging and diffraction for the investigation of cultural heritage, physical metallurgy and archaeometallurgy.  She has a strong interest in the application of non-invasive techniques for the study of works of art.

Associate Professor Kenneth Sheedy is the founding director of the Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies, Macquarie University. His current research interests are the technology for manufacturing ancient coins, the incuse coinage of South Italy, the archaic coinage of Athens and the archaeology and coinage of the Cyclades.

Dr Rachel White is the sample environment group leader at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering. She is a part of the ANSTO Cultural Heritage Project and enjoys being a part of connecting the cultural heritage community with ANSTO. Her expertise is with electron microscopy, laboratory management, chemical safety and safety and procedural documentation.

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