Part of the 2014–2015 Fellows' Presentation Series
Lecture by Pupa Gilbert RI '15
Nacre, or mother-of-pearl, is the iridescent inner lining of many mollusk shells. The microscopic structure of nacre may depend on the water temperature at the time the nacre was deposited. During her Radcliffe fellowship, Pupa Gilbert is conducting experiments to test this hypothesis. If successful, this discovery will enable measuring water temperatures as old as 450 million years, using nacre-containing shells from the fossil record. If validated in modern and ancient shells, this discovery will expand our knowledge and understanding of the natural world.