Hypatia in the news


Part of „Hypatia”,
dimensions: ~9mm x ~9mm
Photo: Roberto Appiani

Research on a small stone, merely 30 g in weight, found in 1996 in south-west Egypt, and called ‘Hypatia’ (after Hypatia of Alexandria, the first woman  mathematician and astronomer), made worldwide news after the paper by Georgy Belyanin et al on its mineralogy has been published (January 2018) in Geochimica and Cosmochimica Acta The lead author appeared on TV (eNCA channel of South Africa) where he  was interviewed at length on the discoveries reported in the paper. Why such an interest? The results of comprehensive studies show that the Hypatia stone is unlike anything else found on Earth, and differs from known meteorites or comets. Its presolar origin is suggested.

iThemba LABS played a role in examinations of Hypatia. Using the proton microprobe, Dr Wojciech Przybylowicz obtained elemental composition, relative quantities and elemental correlations in  selected micro-areas of this unusual  material,  and  next  interpreted  the  results together with Dr Marco Andreoli from the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Jan Kramers and Dr Georgy Belyanin from the University of Johannesburg. A small part of this findings has been published in the present paper, while a publication devoted to results obtained at iThemba    LABS        appeared in 2015 [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nimb.2015.09.008].

More results will be published soon.