ABOUT X-RAYS: Like visible light, X-rays are wavelike forms of electromagnetic energy carried by tiny particles called photons. The only difference is the higher energy level of the individual photons, and their corresponding shorter wavelengths, which make them undetectable by the human eye. X-ray photons have energies that range from hundreds to thousands of times higher than those of visible photons. X-ray machines image the outline of bones and organs, while a CT scan machine forms a full three-dimensional computer model of the inside of a patient's body. Doctors can even examine the body one narrow slice at a time. The X-ray beam moves all around the patient, scanning from hundreds of different angles, and the computer takes all that information to compile a 3D image of the body.
ABOUT FOSSILS: Fossils are the remains of organisms like plants or animals that have been preserved through time, usually found buried within thick layers of sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock is formed as new layers are added, one over the other, over time, with fossils from that specific time period forming within each layer. Because they occur in chronological order in rock formations, the fossil record is like Earth's diary. When an organism dies, it gradually breaks down so that soft tissue, muscle and internal organs decompose. However bones and teeth are more likely to be preserved, especially if buried under sediment. As the material decays over time, minerals dissolved in surrounding groundwater can seep in. The object maintains its original shape, but is now composed of hard minerals: a fossil.
The American Mathematical Society, American Physical Society, Mathematical Association of America, Optical Society of America, American Statistical Association and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.