New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Fast-flying fungal spores
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Tree Frogs
Salamanders and Newts
From Chimps to People
Eyes on the Depths
Vampire Bats on the Run
Talking with Hands
Mice sense each other's fear
Seeing red means danger ahead
Chemistry and Materials
Atom Hauler
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
Electronic Paper Turns a Page
Troubles with Hubble
Galaxies on the go
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dinosaur Eggs-citement
Some Dinos Dined on Grass
Fossil Fly from Antarctica
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Springing forward
Greener Diet
Earth's Poles in Peril
Pollution Detective
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Finding the Past
Words of the Distant Past
Prehistoric Trips to the Dentist
Oldest Writing in the New World
Saltwater Fish
Flashlight Fishes
Great White Shark
Food and Nutrition
The Essence of Celery
Packing Fat
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Subject and Verb Agreement
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Mathematics
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Detecting True Art
Setting a Prime Number Record
Human Body
Cell Phone Tattlers
Tapeworms and Drug Delivery
Sea Kids See Clearly Underwater
Giant Clam
Daddy Long Legs
German Shepherds
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Project Music
Gaining a Swift Lift
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Springing forward
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Assembling the Tree of Life
Sea Turtles
Boa Constrictors
Space and Astronomy
A Very Distant Planet Says "Cheese"
Ringing Saturn
Older Stars, New Age for the Universe
Technology and Engineering
Toy Challenge
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
Dancing with Robots
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
What is a Verb?
Problems with Prepositions
Middle school science adventures
Ready, unplug, drive
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Recipe for a Hurricane
Watering the Air
Warmest Year on Record
Add your Article

A Diamond Polish for Ancient Tools

Everyone knows that diamonds are special. Besides their glamorous beauty and special meaning, they’re also the hardest minerals on Earth.

A new study suggests that even people in ancient China appreciated the wonders of diamonds. Some 6,000 years ago, people in China may have used diamonds to polish their stone axes. That pushes back by several thousand years the date for the first known use of diamonds.

To reach this conclusion, Peter Lu, a physicist at Harvard University, studied four ceremonial burial axes that were found in two tombs in southern China. The axes dated back to between 4000 and 2500 B.C.

Lu used special microscopes and other high-tech equipment to figure out that the axes were mainly made up of three minerals. The most abundant mineral was a type of aluminum oxide known as corundum. Rubies and sapphires are colored forms of corundum.

Finding corundum was a surprise because it’s the second hardest mineral on Earth. Because diamond is the only mineral that’s harder than corundum, Lu proposed that the ancient Chinese must have used diamond to shape and polish their axes.

To test this theory, Lu used a diamond saw to slice one of the burial axes. Then, he tried polishing the new surface with three materials: diamond, corundum, and quartz. Only diamond produced a surface that was as smooth as the original.

The new research also suggests that people in Stone Age China could have used diamond to polish jade and shape it into various objects. These ancient people may have been much more technologically savvy than experts had ever suspected.—E. Sohn

A Diamond Polish for Ancient Tools
A Diamond Polish for Ancient Tools

Designed and Powered by™