Conservation scientist Glen Gates at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore is working on new ways to protect museum-quality silver from the ravages of time. Fine silverware and silver pieces on display at museums are exposed to air and tarnish. Every time someone polishes the silver, even under the careful supervision of conservation experts, a little bit of the silver wears away. Gates and colleague, Physics professor Ray Phaneuf at the University of Maryland, are working on a non-destructive method to preserve silver artifacts. With support from the National Science Foundation, they’re developing a nanometer-thick transparent coating that seals the silver. This coating keeps silver from tarnishing and eliminates the need to polish it.