Was Gutenberg really the inventor of the first printing machine?

The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Northern California plans to combine precious pages from Gutenberg's Bible with pages from an old Korean book, pages from the Canterbury Tales that were written in the century The 14th was written and exposed other Western and Eastern documents to a barrage of energetic X-rays! In this regard, researchers hope to find clues about the evolution of the most important human invention, the printing press, in the pages of these precious documents. In fact, by shining high-energy X-rays on these pages, one can gain an understanding of the composition of the elements of inks, papers, and perhaps any other residue on Western and Eastern prints. ?

BingMag.com Was Gutenberg really the inventor of the first printing machine?

The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Northern California plans to combine precious pages from Gutenberg's Bible with pages from an old Korean book, pages from the Canterbury Tales that were written in the century The 14th was written and exposed other Western and Eastern documents to a barrage of energetic X-rays! In this regard, researchers hope to find clues about the evolution of the most important human invention, the printing press, in the pages of these precious documents. In fact, by shining high-energy X-rays on these pages, one can gain an understanding of the composition of the elements of inks, papers, and perhaps any other residue on Western and Eastern prints. ?

For centuries, Johannes Gutenberg was believed to have invented his printing press in Germany around 1440 AD and to have printed 180 Bibles using it (of which today only less than 50 books have been found!). Meanwhile, recently, historians have obtained evidence of printing by Korean Buddhists around 1250 AD.

BingMag.com Was Gutenberg really the inventor of the first printing machine?

A page from Gutenberg's original Bible (1455-1450 AD) is scanned by the SLAC synchrotron beam.

What makes researchers in this field It is confusing whether these two inventions were made completely independently of each other or if there was a sharing of information between them! Of course, Uwe Bergmann, professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin, admits that if there is information sharing, it probably reached the West and Gothenburg from Korea! In simpler terms, with more detailed investigations, we can understand whether Gutenberg's invention was, at least partially, based on the technology of the East or not. So this is where the Stanford Synchrotron steps in to help us solve this puzzle.

BingMag.com Was Gutenberg really the inventor of the first printing machine?

Annals of Spring and Autumn, Confucius, vol. 1442

A synchrotron can be thought of as a particle accelerator that accelerates electrons inside a giant ring tunnel to produce X-rays. It should be noted that the mechanism of synchrotrons is different from linear particle accelerators such as LCLS. So, by producing and emitting X-rays from electrons, scientists will gain the ability to examine the structural and chemical properties of matter with the help of these rays.

BingMag.com Was Gutenberg really the inventor of the first printing machine?

Using X-rays, scientists create two-dimensional chemical maps of ancient texts like this Confucian document.

In general, by shooting x-rays thinner than a human hair at a piece of text on a document, researchers can create two-dimensional chemical maps that help understand the structure of ink on papers and know the history of printing.

In fact, by shooting X-rays thinner than a human hair at a piece of text on a document, researchers can create two-dimensional chemical maps that show the elements in each pixel in detail. This technique is also known as X-ray fluorescence imaging or XRF. In such a case, the atoms of the sample in question emit light, which we can trace by tracking which elements of the periodic table the emitted light comes from.

BingMag.com Was Gutenberg really the inventor of the first printing machine?

A picture of the first and second epistles of Peter in the Gutenberg Bible

Of course, you may also have this question. Will the high-powered x-rays from SSRL not damage the documents? In response, it should be said that these rays do not harm the pages and can only provide scientists with a comprehensive view of the molecules that make up ancient texts. In addition to these cases, X-rays give researchers the ability to look for rare metals that historians say should not be present in the ink, and if traces of these metals are found, a printing house may have played a role in depicting the texts. So this means that we can learn something about the alloys used in Korea, Gutenberg's printing press, and perhaps by other anonymous people.

Summary

So given the information that It was stated that if researchers can find similarities in the chemical composition of these documents, they can gain a more accurate understanding of printing technologies and the discussion of information exchange between East Asian cultures and the West. However, you should know that scholars openly admit that even if similarities are found between the two books, it cannot be definitely proven that the technology of one influenced the other, but it can be said that the history of the printing press is similar to what we have seen so far. We know that there is a significant difference!

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