The Etymology of “Matter Plasma” and “Blood Plasma”

plasma-blood-and-star

The term “plasma” is derived from the ancient Greek term “plassein” which means to “shape or mold something”. Plasma related to physics, specifically matter which has had its electrons separated from the rest of its atoms, forcing it to become an ion, more specifically a mixture of free floating electrons and ions, was first identified by British chemist and physicist Sir William Crookes in 1879 using cathode ray tubes. Crookes referred to this discovery initially as “radiant matter” but it became known as “plasma” in 1928 because of American chemist Irving Langmuir. Langmuir was exploring ionized gases, gases which were subjected to strong electrical fields to remove electrons from their orbital shells. Langmuir used the analogy of blood to explain this phenomena, with the ions representative of corpuscles and the remaining gas thought of as clear liquid. Blood is similar to plasma in that it is primarily comprised of 2 components which include its clear liquid and the corpuscles/cells entrapped within this fluid. This clear liquid was named “plasma” by Czech physiologist Johannes Purkinje In 1927. The definition of matter plasma and blood plasma however have absolutely nothing to do with eachother physically, aside from the fact that two different scientists had the idea to use the same term at approximately the same time. It is believed that these two scientists based their name upon the ancient Greek definition of the term “plasma”

Thermoluminescence Dating of Pottery

pottery

The dating of pottery artifacts can be accurately performed by using a technique referred to as “thermoluminescence”. Thermoluminescence involves taking a small sample of an artifact of pottery and heating it up using doses of high energy radiation which creates excited electron states in crystalline materials like pottery. In some materials, these electron states are trapped or arrested for extended periods of time by a localized defect, or imperfection. In terms of the quantum world, these states are stationary states which have no formal time dependence, however they are not stable energetically and when the material is heated it enables these trapped energy states to interact with photons to rapidly decay into lower energy states, causing the emission of photons in the process. The photons are measured and dependent of how many escape, a specified measurement of the total age can be determined. This technique can be used on most minerals and is the only method available to provide exact dating in respect to pottery as the results yielded do not have to be compared against a comparison artifact. Certain minerals store energy from the sun at a known rate and this energy is lodged in the imperfect lattices of a mineral’s crystals. Heating these crystals when creating pottery empties the stored energy reserves, after which time the mineral begins absorbing energy again. Thermoluminescence dating is a matter of comparing the current energy stored in a crystal to what should be there had not pottery not been heated during the creation process thereby establishing a “last heated during” marker or date