MEPhI scientists awarded for the implementation of a non-invasive method to study cultural heritage objects

The author's team consisting of Dr. Vladimir Shevchenko, Rector of NRNU MEPhI, Dr. Alexey Larionov, PhD in Theology, Acting Director of the Institute of Fundamental Problems of Social Sciences and Humanities of NRNU MEPhI and Dr, Professor of the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, leading expert of the NITU MISIS, chief researcher of FIAN Natalia Polukhina presented the results of experiments carried out for the first time in Russia on the study by muonography with emulsion detectors internal structure of Christian antiquities - objects of cultural heritage of federal importance.

Muonography works similarly to X-ray imaging, but in contrast to it does not require radioactive sources of radiation. By capturing differences in the fluxes of atmospheric muons passing through an object from different directions with the help of measuring instruments, it is possible to localize "hidden" inside an object with different matter density without destroying it, to infer the absorption capacity of this object in different directions, its structure, and finally to construct a three-dimensional image of the objects under study. One of the most important applications of muonography is to reconstruct the unknown internal structure of large structures of cultural and historical significance. Muonography makes it possible to study the structure of long (up to kilometres) objects without penetrating directly into them. 

During the investigation of buildings and territory of Holy Trinity Danilov Monastery in Pereslavl-Zalessky in a bricked up part of basements of the Church of the Praise of the Mother of God two hollow rooms were discovered and a considerable consolidation of building structures of a basement in the direction of the central entrance to the monastery was found. Large hollows were found about one and a half meters below the ground in the monastery area between the Church of the Praise of the Mother of God and the Church of All Saints, which may be, according to one of the hypotheses, ancient crypts.

Muonographic methodological approaches and technical solutions using track detectors are of great importance for archaeology, geology, nuclear power, volcanology, defectoscopy and other fields. Efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly muonography method can be used not only to study objects of cultural heritage, but also to create systems for monitoring the condition of large technical systems. For example, scientists at NRNU MEPhI are currently studying the internal structure of the reactor at the Kalinin nuclear power plant non-invasively using the muonography method.

The laureates decided to donate the monetary part of the prize to the endowment funds of NRNU MEPhI and NRNU MISIS in equal shares.