Exploring Digital Frontiers

Part of being a journalist is having the opportunity to be able to ask anybody, anything. That’s part of the job. But sometimes it’s possible to go beyond that, and actually spend some time with people who are doing amazing things. That’s what happened yesterday.

Brent Seales, who got his PhD at the UW Madison 25 years ago, returned to Madison for a lecture at the 50-year anniversary celebration of the Madison Biblical Archaeology Society. But he also spent some time on campus talking with students and professors, and me. It was a great day.

By way of background, here’s a video that details his research, at the University of Kentucky, where he is professor and chairman of the Computer Science Department. His work involves digitally unrolling scrolls that have been damaged far beyond any possibility of reading their contents.

Brent Seales

Brent Seales,  describing the synagogue at Engedi, where a carbonized scroll was found in 1972, which he was able to digitally unroll and read in 2015. Over the noon hour he spoke to an audience of professor and grad students in the Computer Science building on the US campus.

Flamingos on Bascom Hill

After the noon meeting we walked past Bascom Hill where a flock of flamingos was recreating a famous day in the history of UW student government.

Brent Seales at UW

We paused for a photo op in front of the Science Building, Helen C. White Library and Memorial Union.

Memorial Union Terrace

The Memorial Union Terrace is the best place to be on a Friday afternoon in October, especially when the temperature is 76 degrees. Here is professor Seales with Jeff Blakely and Jeremy Hutton, from the UW Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies.

UW Alumni Park

We also visited the newly opened UW Alumni Park, though these photos are from a few nights before.

Wall of icons

The Alumni Park contains a wall of historic UW and Madison icons.

statue of Bucky Badger

…as well as a soon-to-be-famous statue of Bucky Badger.


Upper House lecture

The day ended with an evening lecture at Upper House on the UW campus, speaking to about 65 people at a 50-year anniversary celebration for the Madison Biblical Archaeology Society.

And if you haven’t looked at that video, you should watch it now and acquaint yourself with professor Seales’ amazing research.


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