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Chemistry

Williamsburg chemist and conservator study historic art at the molecular level

Williamsburg chemist and conservator study historic art at the molecular level

In an art-filled lab in Colonial Williamsburg, Shelley Svoboda hunkered over Mary Blaikley Stith, peering through a microscope, scalpel in hand, a bright light beaming on her chosen target. Svoboda eased the blade down in a delicate slice, then raised it again, an imperceptible sample on its razor's edge. She slid the sample onto a spotless glass slide, then covered it with another. Soon it would be on its way for scientific analysis in a laser lab at the nearby College of William and Mary. Svoboda isn't a surgeon, but a painting conservator with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Stith isn't a medical patient, but an oil portrait painted some 270 years ago. The...

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