Robert Rucker theorizes the image is due to neutron emission/absorption. Though his theory attempts to explain the imaging, primarily it is to explain the medieval dating of the 1988 C-14 test.
In 1988, the C14 dating methodology was used (Ref. 1, i.e. Damon, et al.) to date samples from
the Shroud of Turin to 1260 to 1390 AD. But research during the last 30 years has convinced
leading Shroud researchers that the Shroud is much older than 1260 to 1390 AD, thus
contradicting the results of the C14 dating. To solve this carbon dating problem for the Shroud, a
three-part series has been written that covers: 1) background in Ref. 2, 2) statistical analysis in
Ref. 3, and 3) the neutron absorption hypothesis, which is this paper.
There is much evidence to indicate that the image on the
Shroud was caused by a burst of radiation from the body that was wrapped in it (Ref. 8 and 9). It
is hypothesized in this paper that if neutrons were included in this burst of radiation, a small
fraction of them would be absorbed in the trace amounts of N14 in the linen thus forming new C14
atoms by the (N14 + neutron → C
14 + proton) reaction. This newly created C14 would be
indistinguishable from the original C14 that was taken into the plant while it was alive, thus
shifting the apparent C14 date in the positive direction by up to thousands of years.
Since, as correctly stated in the objection, radiation is normally emitted in any
direction with equal probability and thus could not form a high-resolution image, the
radiation that caused the image (probably charged particles and/or ultra violet) must have
been emitted only vertically, both vertically up and down to form good resolution front and
dorsal images but without side images. This radiation could not have been perpendicular to
the surface of the body for then there would be images of the side of the body on the cloth,
and distortion of the front and back images. This vertically collimated radiation could have
been similar to the coherent radiation emitted from a laser. A laser emits electromagnetic
radiation, i.e. photons, usually in the visible or ultraviolet energy range that is “coherent” in
the sense that the wavelengths of all the photons are in-phase with each other so that there
is no tendency for the beam to spread out. As commented by others, the burst of radiation
from the body that formed the image on the Shroud was like millions of lasers within the
body all pointed vertically up and down, and all emitting simultaneously in an extremely
short burst of radiation. It is recognized that this radiation being emitted only vertically is
outside of our current understanding of science, but then a high resolution negative image
formed by a dead human body on a cloth that contains 3D information content is also
outside of our current understanding of science.
Some features the neutron emission theory does not explain: depth encoding, angle encoding, x-ray effect, and image on back of cloth.
A big issue I have with the theory is the requirement of a vertically collimated radiation. This means radiation would only be emitted up and down in a single vertical line from its point of origin. As Rucker acknowledges, this is an ad hoc addition for this theory.
If neutron emission did occur, the theory could be coupled with the cloth collapse theory, but without the need of a vertically collimated radiation. Neutron radiation could’ve affected the C-14 dating of the cloth.
Hugh Farey presents his objections to the neutron absorption theory:
Recently, Robert Rucker has postulated that the medieval radiocarbon date is wrong, because the radiocarbon of the shroud has been enriched by nuclear emission from the body of the Resurrecting Christ. Extrapolating from the chronological gradient of the dates as inferred by Riani et al., he finds that if a tiny fraction of the neutrons that made up the body of Christ were emitted, not only would the requisite adjustment of the radiocarbon dates (from first century to fourteenth century) be achieved, but also that the part of the cloth in contact with the body would be sufficiently radiocarbon enriched to date thousands of years into the future. Within the definition of ‘Christian Reason’, whereby a rupture in the fabric of science is not necessarily impossible, neither this hypothesis nor the calculation that supports it is prima facie absurd. However, this single rupture has to be accompanied by several others if the miracle of the Resurrection is to be understood in scientific terms. If it is acknowledged that the Shroud is a witness to a nuclear radiation event, we nevertheless find that neutron emission cannot account for the image. For this, protons (or intense ultra-violet rays) also have to be emitted, but in a vertical direction only – in a process, says Rucker, “outside of our current understanding of science.” And that’s not all. A nuclear event – even in one ten billionth of a body – emits radiation of other kinds, especially heat, all of which must be accounted for, and accompanied by some explanation of what might have happened to all the other atoms of the body which did not disintegrate. Every explanation of what is supposed did happen ought to be accompanied by equally good explanations of why other factors that normally accompany the first explanation should be ignored. It is this piling of successive special circumstances one upon another which leads to accusations of absurdity. If you believe that a miracle occurred, then it is pointless, not to mention unreasonable, to attempt to explain it in non-miraculous terms.