Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is pleased to announce the appointment of Naomi Rosenkranz as the inaugural Science Resident in Conservation for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The new Science Residency is an initiative of University Librarian, James G. Neal, and is hosted in the Libraries’ Conservation Department. The Residency is open to junior and senior undergraduate students at Columbia and Barnard who are majoring in chemistry, biology, engineering, and other science disciplines relevant to conservation of library and archives materials.
This year’s Residency focuses on the work of the Ancient Ink Laboratory, a current collaboration between the Conservation Program and Senior Research Scientist in the Center for Integrated Science and Engineering (CISE), James T. Yardley, and his team, concerning the analysis of ancient writing inks and colorants on Egyptian papyri from Late Antiquity via Raman spectroscopy.
Naomi is a Barnard Physics major in the Class of 2015 who takes up the Residency with strong research experience. In addition to her coursework in the sciences, she spent the summer of 2013 working in the University of Utah experimental condensed matter physics lab of Shanti Deemyad, investigating the superconductivity of Lithium compounds. This past summer she worked at the Washington State University with the Hipps-Mazur Group in Chemistry, looking at the photoconductivity of porphyrin nanorods. She also works as a production assistant in the Barnard theater department, has worked for many years at the Armory Center for the Arts in California, and as an avid ceramicist, her active interest in the arts matches well with the connections to art history and science disciplines within the field of conservation.
“I have always found it difficult to bring together these two fields, science and art, but the Ancient Ink Lab does exactly that,” said Rosenkranz. “The documents have such a rich history as objects of art and antiquity, but the Lab’s experiments have also proven a complicated chemical and physical history.”
The selection for this position from a strong pool of applicants was made by Alexis Hagadorn, Head of Conservation, James T. Yardley, and Sarah Goler, Postdoctoral Research Scientist at CISE and Fellow of the Italian Academy, 2014-2015. Over the course of the academic year, Rosenkranz will work under the direction of the Ancient Ink team, becoming acquainted with the field of art conservation through selected hands-on treatment work in the Conservation Laboratory, scientific analysis of objects in the Libraries’ collections, and investigation of a conservation science topic related to the research program of the Ancient Ink Laboratory.
Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.