Recent Research on the Shroud of Turin

Below are the papers written by Robert A. Rucker on his recent research on the Shroud of Turin. Abstracts are listed for each paper and the source is given for downloading each paper from www.academia.edu . The papers are listed under four categories: the carbon dating problem, image formation on the Shroud, the disappearance of the body, and miscellaneous. Research presented at the International Conference on the Shroud of Turin (ICST-2017) July 19-22, 2017, at the TRAC center in Pasco, WA, is listed on the Conferences page.

Today, July 7, 2018, Robert A. Rucker is releasing 6 new papers.  They are downloadable here in PDF.

The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 1:  Background  
Paper in PDF
Abstract
 
In 1988, the C14 dating methodology was used to date samples from the Shroud of Turin to 1260 to 1390 AD (Ref. 1).  The problem with this date range is that it contradicts most other evidence which indicates that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus from the first century.  To solve this carbon dating problem for the Shroud of Turin, a three-part series has been written that covers:  1) background,  2) statistical analysis, and  3) the neutron absorption hypothesis.  This paper is part 1 in the series and covers background material that is needed to understand parts 2 and 3 in the series (Ref. 2 and 3).  Basics of radiation and the C14 dating methodology are discussed to help people understand the neutron absorption hypothesis in Ref. 3.  An extensive list of evidence is given why the C14 dating of the Shroud to the Middle Ages is not correct.  A simplified example is given of measurements with and without a systematic bias, and the characteristics of the data analysis are explained that demonstrate when a systematic bias is present.  This is required to understand the statistical analysis in Ref. 2.

The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 2:  Statistical Analysis
Abstract
 
In 1988, the C14 dating methodology was used (Damon, et al., Ref. 1) to date samples from the Shroud of Turin to 1260 to 1390 AD.  But research during the last 30 years has convinced leading Shroud researchers that the Shroud of Turin is much older than 1260 to 1390 AD, thus contradicting the results of the C14 dating.  To solve this carbon dating problem for the Shroud of Turin, a three-part series has been written that covers:  1) background,  2) statistical analysis, and  3) the neutron absorption hypothesis.  Part 1 on background information (Ref. 2) should be read and understood before this paper is attempted.  This paper is part 2 in the series and discusses the statistical analysis of the 1988 C14 date measurements.  To the extent possible, this paper is written for the layman, and uses only the Chi-squared statistical analysis technique that was used in Damon.  Part 3 in this series (Ref. 3) hypothesizes that neutron absorption in the Shroud explains the results found in the statistical analysis in this paper, as well as the C14 date to 1260 to 1390 AD.  In this paper, several indications are discussed that the range of the 1988 C14 date measurements is much too large in comparison to the measurement uncertainties.  This indicates that there is a serious problem with the data.  Most significantly, a Chi-squared statistical analysis of the measurement data indicates that the variation in the C14 date measurements has only a 1.4% probability of being consistent with the measurement uncertainties.  This indicates a 98% probability that something other than random measurement error was also affecting the measured values, such as, in statistical analysis terminology, a systematic bias.  Plotting the three laboratory average values indicates that this systematic bias is a function of the distance of the sample from the bottom of the Shroud.  This means that each measured value Mi was the result of the actual age (A) of the Shroud plus the bias B(xi, yi), where the xi and yi are the prior position coordinates of each sample (i) on the Shroud, combined with the one sigma random measurement error Ri.  The equation for this is Mi = A + B(xi, yi) ± Ri.  This systematic bias could have been sufficient to shift the date for the Shroud forward by up to thousands of years.  Ref. 3 discusses the cause for this systematic bias.  Since the measured values listed in Damon are not corrected for the magnitude of the bias, the 1988 C14 date for the Shroud of 1260 to 1390 AD should not be accepted as necessarily valid, so that the conclusion that the Shroud dates it the Middle Ages is not proven.

The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 3:  The Neutron Absorption Hypothesis
Abstract
 
In 1988, the C14 dating methodology was used (Ref. 1, i.e. Damon, et al.) to date samples from the Shroud of Turin to 1260 to 1390 AD.  But research during the last 30 years has convinced leading Shroud researchers that the Shroud is much older than 1260 to 1390 AD, thus contradicting the results of the C14 dating.  To solve this carbon dating problem for the Shroud, a three-part series has been written that covers:  1) background in Ref. 2,  2) statistical analysis in Ref. 3, and  3) the neutron absorption hypothesis, which is this paper.  A more thorough statistical analysis (Ref. 3) than that originally done in Damon indicates that something (technically called a systematic bias) probably affected the measurement values, in addition to the normal random measurement errors.  This systematic bias was neither identified nor quantified in Damon so that the resulting date of the measurements (1260 – 1390 AD) should not be regarded as necessarily accurate.  There is much evidence to indicate that the image on the Shroud was caused by a burst of radiation from the body that was wrapped in it (Ref. 8 and 9).  It is hypothesized in this paper that if neutrons were included in this burst of radiation, a small fraction of them would be absorbed in the trace amounts of N14 in the linen thus forming new C14 atoms by the (N14 + neutron → C14 + proton) reaction.  This newly created C14 would be indistinguishable from the original C14 that was taken into the plant while it was alive, thus shifting the apparent C14 date in the positive direction by up to thousands of years.  Computer calculations were performed using the MCNP nuclear analysis computer code to determine that if 2 x 1018 neutrons were emitted from the body it would have increased the C14 concentration at the sample location by 16%, which would have shifted the C14 date from 30 AD to 1260 AD.  This number of neutrons is only one in every ten billion that would have been in the body that was wrapped in the Shroud.  The MCNP nuclear analysis computer calculations were used to determine C14 dates for samples taken from anywhere on the Shroud.  It was found that most locations would date to the future, assuming the usual equations are used to determine the date from the C14 concentration.  Specifically, for material removed in 2002 from under the patches at the elbows, samples should date to about 3500 to 4500 AD (Figure 14).  This neutron absorption hypothesis is the only hypothesis that is consistent with the four things that are known about C14 dating as it relates to the Shroud of Turin:
 
• Uncorrected date of 1260 AD at the 1988 sample location,
• Slope of the dates from the three laboratories of about 36 years per cm,
• The range of the dates for the 16 subsamples (1155 to 1410 AD), and
• C14 date of 700 AD for the Sudarium of Oviedo, which according to tradition is the face cloth of Jesus (John 20:7), and thus related to the Shroud.

Potential Problems with a Cloth Collapse  Hypothesis for Image Formation  on the Shroud of Turin
Abstract
 
Images of the front and back of a naked crucified man can be seen on the Shroud of Turin.  Evidence indicates these images were caused by radiation.  The cloth collapse hypothesis holds that the disappearance of the body from within the Shroud of Turin created the conditions for the cloth to rapidly collapse into the region previously occupied by the body, where it encountered radiation that discolored the fibers thus forming the high-resolution front and back images on the Shroud.  Potential problems with this hypothesis include:  1) difficulty in forming the front and back images without side images by collapse of the Shroud under the forces of gravity and air pressure difference,  2) the speed of radiation is so much faster than the speed of the cloth that cloth movement becomes irrelevant, and  3) the cloth would not start to collapse until about 99.9% of the radiation had already gone through the cloth, again making cloth movement irrelevant to the image formation.  The last two problems can be avoided by assuming that the body becomes mechanically transparent when it starts to disappear.  The vertical radiation hypothesis is preferred over the cloth collapse hypothesis due to the latter’s difficulty in explaining why there are no side images.  An equation is derived for the distance that the cloth collapses as a function of time after the disappearance of the body.

Summary of Scientific Research  on the Shroud of Turin
Abstract
 
According to ancient tradition, the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus.  To determine whether this could be true, more historical and scientific research has been done on the Shroud of Turin than on any other ancient artifact.  The purpose of this paper is to summarize the results of the scientific research on the Shroud of Turin.  This summary is based on the opinions of most Shroud researchers and on research by the author.  Research on the Shroud is summarized using nine summary statements.  A multi-step argument is given that the image on the Shroud is that of Jesus of Nazareth.  Two objections to these conclusions are considered – that they violate the laws of science and that the authenticity of the Shroud is disproven by the 1988 C14 dating of the Shroud, which concluded that the Shroud dates to 1260 to 1390 AD with a 95% probability.  Four reasons are discussed which indicate that this conclusion is not justified by the evidence.  This includes consideration of 13 indicators of the Shroud’s date and 6 indications that the 1988 statistical analysis of the C14 dating results was inadequate.  The neutron absorption hypothesis is used to explain the apparent C14 date to the Middle Ages.

Explaining the Mysteries of the Shroud
Abstract
 
To determine whether the Shroud of Turin could be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus, the many mysteries related to the Shroud need to be explained with a logically consistent unbiased evidence-based approach that follows the evidence where it leads.  This is attempted in this paper based on information, radiation, and neutron absorption.  Why we can see the image on the Shroud is explained by the presence of information in the pattern of discolored fibers in the image.  Formation of the image is explained by radiation emitted from within the body that communicated the required information to the Shroud.  The carbon dating of the Shroud to 12601390 AD is explained by neutrons in the radiation that shifted the carbon date.  The man, who was crucified and whose body emitted radiation, is best understood to be Jesus.

Previous papers:

The Carbon Dating Problem

1. "Shroud of Turin Carbon Dating Problem, Part 1: The Neutron Absorption Hypothesis" by Robert A. Rucker, This paper is still in review. It will be released as soon as reviewer comments are resolved.

Summary

In 1988, the C14 dating methodology was used to date samples from the Shroud of Turin. This process concluded that the Shroud dated to the Middle Ages rather than to the first century primarily because the statistical analysis failed to recognize that the disagreement between the mean values for the three laboratories had only a 1.4% probability of being consistent with the measurement uncertainties. This indicated a 98% probability that something other than random measurement variation was affecting the measured values. In statistical analysis terminology, a position dependent systematic bias was altering the measured values. This means that each measured value Mi was the result of the actual age (A) of the Shroud plus the bias B(xi, yi), where the xi and yi are the prior position coordinates of each subsample (i) on the Shroud, combined with the one sigma random measurement error Ri. The equation for this is Mi = A + B(xi, yi) ± Ri. This bias caused the samples to give an apparent date (Middle Ages) instead of the true date (first century). According to the neutron absorption hypothesis, this systematic bias was caused by the natural distribution in the tomb of the neutrons that were included in the burst of radiation emitted from within the body that burned the image onto the Shroud. These neutrons would have produced new C14 on the Shroud by the (N14 + neutron --> C14 + proton) reaction, thus shifting the measured C14 date in the forward direction by hundreds to thousands of years.

Abstract

By the mid-1980s, sufficient scientific and historical evidence had accumulated to convince an increasing number of people that the Shroud of Turin was the authentic burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. But in 1988 samples from the Shroud were dated by three laboratories to 1260 to 1390 AD “with at least 95% confidence”, thus supposedly providing “conclusive evidence” that the Shroud could not be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. But the technology to form the bizarre characteristics of the image on the Shroud did not exist in any previous era or even today. This paper argues that this apparently irreconcilable conflict can be resolved by the neutron absorption hypothesis. This hypothesis argues, based on the evidence on the Shroud, that a burst of radiation was emitted from within the body to form the image on the Shroud, i.e. the image is a radiation burn. And neutrons were evidently included in this burst of radiation so that the C-14 dating methodology would not necessarily be accurate for the Shroud, especially in consideration of the other dating methods that are consistent with a first century date. If neutrons were emitted from within the body, a small fraction of the neutrons would be absorbed in the trace amounts of N-14 in the linen thus forming new C-14 atoms by the (N-14 + neutron --> C-14 + proton) reaction. This newly created C-14 would be indistinguishable from the original C-14 that was taken into the plant while it was alive, thus shifting the apparent C-14 date in the positive direction by up to hundreds or even thousands of years. Thus, this burst of radiation must have burned the image onto the Shroud (by charged particles and/or ultra violet) and shifted the C-14 date from the first century to the Middle Ages (by neutron absorption in N-14 in the Shroud).

The concentration of this newly created C-14 would depend on the location on the Shroud because of the neutron distribution in the tomb that would result from neutrons being emitted from within the body. The shift in the C-14 date for any sample would depend on the sample’s prior (x, y) coordinates on the Shroud. This would constitute a systematic bias [B(x, y)] that would affect the C-14 date measurement of any sample taken from the Shroud. Thus, the measured age (M) of any sample (i) would depend on the actual age of the Shroud (A) plus the position dependent bias [B(xi, yi)] plus a one sigma uncertainty term (± Ri) to account for the ransom measurement error: [ Mi = A + B(xi, yi) ± Ri ]. The chi squared statistical analysis of the C-14 date measurements concludes that there is only a 1.4% probability that the C-14 date measurements are consistent with the measurement uncertainties without this bias term, so that without this bias term, the validity of the C-14 date measurements should be rejected. The original analysts of the C-14 date measurements, not recognizing the possibility of the samples having such a position dependent bias, simply assumed that the inconsistencies in the data were due to an understatement of the random measurement errors. It is shown that the magnitude of the required understatement in the random error is not credible. Thus, this paper assumes that the C-14 date measurements were done correctly, but it is concluded that the measurement data was misinterpreted because the presence of the bias term [B(x, y)] was not recognized. It is this bias due to neutron absorption that shifted the C-14 dates from the correct date (first century) to the incorrect date (the Middle Ages). Evidence that this neutron absorption hypothesis is correct is based on nuclear analysis computer calculations that can obtain the correct gradient or slope of the C-14 date measurements (about 36 years per cm) for the Shroud of Turin as well as the correct C-14 data of 700 AD for the Sudarium of Oviedo, which is believed to be the face cloth of Jesus. Results of these computer calculations can be used to predict the C-14 dates for samples from other locations on the Shroud. Other proposed explanations to the C-14 dating problem and objections to the neutron absorption hypothesis are discussed.


2. "MCNP Analysis of Neutrons Released from Jesus' Body in the Resurrection" by Robert A. Rucker, October 11, 2014, The PowerPoint slides and the narration to the PowerPoint slides are available below.



Abstract

This paper was presented Oct. 11, 2014 at the international conference on the Shroud of Turin, titled “Shroud of Turin: The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science” held in St. Louis October 9-12, 2014. The presentation included 54 PowerPoint slides. The narration for these slides is given similar to that presented at the conference, allowing some flexibility for completeness and a few changes and corrections. Many have speculated that the image is the result of radiation emitted from the body. If this is true, and if neutrons were included in this radiation emission, then the neutron emission might explain the C-14 dating problem. The body wrapped in the Shroud laying in a tomb as it would have been designed in first century Jerusalem was modeled in the MCNP (Monte Carlo N-Particle) nuclear analysis software. Computer calculations were performed using this model assuming that neutrons were emitted uniformly from within the body. It was found that making the one assumption that neutrons were emitted uniformly from within the body can explain three things related to C-14 dating: 1. It explains why the Shroud was dated to 1260 AD rather than to the first century, 2. It explains the slope in the average C-14 date between the three laboratories, and 3. It explains why the Sudarium of Oviedo, believed by many to be Jesus' face cloth, was dated to 700 AD. Explaining these three mysteries by one assumption indicates that there is probably much merit to the assumption.

Image Formation on the Shroud

1. “The Role of Radiation in Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin” by Robert A. Rucker, October 5, 2016


Abstract

Formation of the image on the Shroud required three things: a discoloration mechanism, energy, and information. There must have been some process or mechanism that caused discoloration on the top portions of the fibers that make up the image on the Shroud. Energy would have been required for the functioning of the discoloration mechanism to alter the covalent bonds of the carbon atoms in the cellulose molecules that caused the discoloration. And information defining the shape of the body and the presence of some of the bones was needed to guide the process so that front and back images with good resolution could be formed. It is argued that if we follow the evidence where it leads and not be constrained by a presupposition of naturalism, then we find that the best explanation for the evidence on the Shroud is that the required energy was delivered to the Shroud by radiation emitted from within the body, and that this radiation must have been vertically collimated both up and down. Seventeen reasons are given for this view. The radiation that was emitted from within the body, by means of its intensity and direction, carried the necessary information from the body to the Shroud so that the image could be formed. A working hypothesis is developed for this emission of radiation from within the body in terms of when, where, what, why, and how. Responses are given to multiple questions that arise regarding this working hypothesis. And lastly a two-step image formation mechanism is proposed based on radiation emitted from within the body, which caused a corona discharge on the top portion of the fibers, which caused the discoloration of the fibers making up the images.

2. "Information Content on the Shroud of Turin" by Robert A. Rucker, June 28, 2016


Abstract

People can see the image of a crucified man on the Shroud of Turin because the threads of the Shroud contain fibers that are discolored in a pattern that contains the information content that defines the appearance of a crucified man. This information could only have come from the body that was wrapped within the Shroud, because this information was only inherent to the body and not to its surroundings. After considering the five possible options for how information can travel from one location to another (radiation, waves in a medium, direct contact, a flow of particles through physical connections, and diffusion of molecules), it is concluded that the only credible option for how this information could have been communicated from the body to the Shroud is by radiation (photons and/or particles) emitted from within the body which was then absorbed onto the Shroud.

3. "Review of ‘The Shroud of Turin: Radiation Effects, Aging, and Image Formation' by Ray Rogers’" by Robert A. Rucker, Giulio Fanti, Mark Antonacci, Tony Flemming, and Keith Propp, June 28, 2016

Abstract

The 2005 paper “The Shroud of Turin: Radiation Effects, Aging, and Image Formation” by Ray Rogers was reviewed to determine the correctness of his conclusions. This review was done because this paper was evidently never published or peer reviewed, yet is frequently referenced. His main conclusion as stated in his abstract is that formation of the image on the Shroud of Turin “could not have involved energetic radiation of any kind; photons, electrons, protons, alpha particles, and/or neutrons.” Review of Rogers’ paper found that this conclusion is not justified by the evidence that is presented, and in fact, the certainty of this conclusion contradicts the tentativeness of his last sentence in the body of the paper which says “I believe that the current evidence suggests that all radiation-based hypotheses for image formation will ultimately be rejected.” (Underlining added.) This contradiction may have resulted from Rogers not completing this paper due to his ill health and eventual death at the beginning of 2005. In contradiction to Rogers’ conclusion, this review also includes a summary of the reasons why radiation ought to be regarded as the most likely cause of the image on the Shroud of Turin.

The Disappearance of the Body

1. "The Disappearance of Jesus' Body, Part 1: Biblical and Theological Considerations" by Robert A. Rucker, June 28, 2016


Abstract

This study investigates how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb. In Part 1, which is this document, how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb is considered from the Biblical references to his resurrection and from the theology of resurrection throughout the Bible. The perspective is that of Biblical Christianity. It is concluded that in the resurrection, Jesus’ body underwent a basic transformation, a metamorphosis, from what Paul called a “natural body” to a “spiritual body”. As described by the change in the adjective from “natural” to “spiritual”, this basic transformation in Jesus’ body is what allowed his body to exit the shroud and the tomb without disturbing either. Physical considerations related to how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb are analyzed in Part 2.

2. "The Disappearance of Jesus' Body, Part 2: Physical Considerations" by Robert A. Rucker, June 28, 2016


Abstract

This document deals with physical/scientific aspects of how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb. Seven physical processes that might have been involved in the disappearance of Jesus’ body from the tomb are considered based on the laws of science as we currently understand them and based on an extrapolation of those laws as suggested by aspects of modern physics. Consideration of the pros and cons for these proposed processes indicates that disintegration of the body and involvement of a wormhole should be rejected as possible mechanisms for how the body disappeared. It is concluded that a transition into an alternate dimensionality is the best option among the seven proposed processes for how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb, at least among those that are in any way related to our current understanding of the laws of physics. Of course, a yet undefined process that is beyond even an extrapolation of our current laws of science could be the cause of the disappearance of the body, but this option could not be scientifically assessed due to its vagueness.

3. “Mr. Dotman in Lineland” by Robert A. Rucker, October 6, 2016


Abstract

This is a short fictional story of Mr. Dotman in Lineland to convey what is meant by a transition into an alternate dimensionality. This concept has application to the Shroud of Turin to help explain what may have happened, in physics terms, when Jesus’ body disappeared from within the Shroud. A study of the pros and cons of several options for how this could have happened was done in “The Disappearance of Jesus’ Body Part 2: Physical Considerations”, which concluded that the most likely option that is within an extrapolation of concepts in modern physics is that Jesus’ body disappeared from within the Shroud by a transition into an alternate dimensionality. The story of Mr. Dotman in Lineland was excerpted from pages 13 to 15 of this previous paper.

Miscellaneous

1. "Ideas for Research on the Shroud of Turin" by Robert A. Rucker, November 10, 2016


Abstract

This paper lists ideas for research that would be helpful to solve the main mysteries related to the Shroud of Turin. This suggested research includes questions to be considered, and ideas for calculations and experiments to be done. The ideas for this research come primarily from a review of the paper “Role of Radiation in Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin”.

2. "Review of 'Test the Shroud' by Mark Antonacci" by Robert A. Rucker, June 28, 2016


Abstract

This is a detailed 8-page book review of “Test the Shroud at the Atomic and Molecular Levels” by Mark Antonacci, October 2015, Published by LE Press, LLC, Hardback, 502 pages, 223 pictures and figures, Size is 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.50 inches. The book contains 15 chapters in 333 pages, 9 appendices in 79 pages, 689 endnotes of references and extended discussion in 79 pages, and 11 pages of miscellaneous material. “Test the Shroud” by Mark Antonacci summarizes the current status of research on the Shroud of Turin and the need for, nature of and expected results of further testing. Writing for the layman, he covers all areas of the subject including the most difficult areas related to the C-14 dating, the image formation, and the blood transfer. His knowledge of references related to the Shroud is encyclopedic. And the main purpose of the book, to promote additional testing, is very timely.

For further information on Mark Antonachi's organization "Test the Shroud Foundation" and his two books "The Resurrection of the Shroud" (2000) and "Test the Shroud at the Atomic and Molecular Levels" (2015), visit www.testtheshroud.org.