Scientists at the French government’s Historical Monuments Research Laboratory are using these objects as clues in an urgent and vital task: Working out how to safely restore the beloved Paris cathedral and identify what perils remain inside the monument in a race against the clock.

Debris is still falling from Notre Dame’s roof as fears over dust poisoning from the cathedral’s burnt-out lead roof has frightened the people of Paris and a spring 2020 deadline looms for a major diagnostic report on how to fix the lab’s most famous patient.

“For the moment, the cathedral is in an emergency state of peril……

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