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How imaging technology is recovering damaged texts and rewriting history

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Found in Translation

Using spectral imaging, Gregory Heyworth can bring new life to old manuscripts. He is able to decipher texts that haven't been read in hundreds of years, and in the process, change history.

About Gregory Heyworth

Gregory Heyworth is an associate professor of English at the University of Rochester. He is a medievalist and founder of the discipline of textual science. Professor Heyworth directs the Lazarus Project, a not-for-profit initiative to restore damaged and illegible cultural heritage objects, especially manuscripts and maps, using spectral imaging technology. He has helped recover numerous important objects including the Vercelli Book and the 1491 Martellus Map.

This segment of the TED Radio Hour was produced by Harsha Nahata and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at TEDRadioHour@npr.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Harsha Nahata
Harsha Nahata (she/her) is a producer for TED Radio Hour. She is drawn to storytelling as a way to explore ideas about identity and question dominant narratives.