Brent Seales is the Alumni Professor of Computer Science at the University of Kentucky, where he has been teaching and mentoring students since 1991. He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D. and M.S.), and the University of Southwestern Louisiana (B.S.). The focus of his research for the past 20 years has been on using advanced technology to restore and redeem cultural and historical artifacts from the ravages of time. The challenge of rescuing texts that may be central to Biblical scholarship and the formation of the ancient world is a primary passion.
As a result of his innovations, including the invention of "virtual unwrapping," Dr. Seales has become renowned by collectors and curators across the globe, earning a reputation as "the guy who can read the unreadable:· In 2015, Seales and his research team used virtual unwrapping to reveal, for the first time ever, a complete text from a manuscript so damaged it would never be opened and read via traditional means. The text was identified as the oldest known Hebrew copy of the book of Leviticus (other than the Dead Sea Scrolls), carbon dated to the third century C.E. The reading of the text from within the damaged scroll received international recognition from Science Advances, The New York Times, Le Monde, and The Times of London, among others, and has been hailed as one of the most significant discoveries in biblical archaeology of the past decade.
Dr. Seales has been awarded competitive extramural funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Science Foundation, and the United Kingdom's Arts & Humanities Research Council. He was a Google Visiting Scientist in Paris (2012-13), where he continued work on the "virtual unwrapping" of the Herculaneum scrolls. He most recently served as a Getty Conservation Institute Scholar (2019-20). where he developed data science and infrastructure approaches to the study of cultural heritage in all its forms. He is Pl on the EduceLab project, a first-of-its-kind world class heritage science lab to be built at the University of Kentucky.
Honors & Awards
Getty Conservation Institute Scholar
SEC Faculty Achievement Award
Great Teacher Award, UK Alumni Association
Guest Lecturer, Friends of Herculaneum Societies:
Oxford, England: Naples, Italy; and The Sorbonne, Paris
Visiting Scientist. Google France
lnstitut de France. Two-time Invited Lecturer (in French)