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SLAC Solves 200-Year-Old Opera Mystery

Microscope used to decode notes

By Scott Budman
|  Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013  |  Updated 11:55 PM PDT
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Inside the Stanford Linear Accelerator, a microscope the size of a room, de-codes parts of a  1797 opera by Luigi Cherubin. NBC Bay Area's Scott Budman explains.

NBCBayArea.com

Inside the Stanford Linear Accelerator, a microscope the size of a room, de-codes parts of a 1797 opera by Luigi Cherubin. NBC Bay Area's Scott Budman explains.

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It's a beautiful opera.

Created in 1797 by Luigi Cherubini, a composer praised by Beethoven.  But this particular opera has never been heard all the way through.

Until now.

Inside the Stanford Linear Accelerator, a microscope the size of a room used high-energy light to de-code parts of the opera covered by smudges. 

Now, it can be read, and - presumably - played all the way through for the first time.

Says SLAC's Uwe Bergmann, "we are trying to unlock the secrets of nature .. in this case, we're trying to bring home something a genius did long ago."

They're unlocking a piece of previously hidden history.  Note by note.

Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman

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