If we can remotely probe the structure and nature of an object, we can make an image of it and use that image to develop human comprehension.

RIT professor co-chairs international conference on ultrafast optics in Beijing, Aug. 16–21
faculty

http://www.rit.edu/news/lib/filelib/201508/jieqiao_copy1.jpg
Aug. 11, 2015
Susan Gawlowicz
RIT professor co-chairs international conference on ultrafast optics in Beijing, Aug. 16–21 Jie Qiao represents RIT, presents research Rochester Institute of Technology professor Jie Qiao is the general co-chair of the international conference on Ultrafast Optics UFO X taking place in Beijing from Aug. 16 to 21. Ultrafast optics uses short optical pulses that can provide higher intensity than a continuous wave of light. High-energy lasers can weld, cut and polish glass and other materials. The technology enables integrated photonics and integrated optoelectronics—that combine or bond different materials. Ultrafast optics holds the potential to advance additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, and free-form optics that go beyond traditional spherical shapes. “Optics is the enabling technology right now for cutting-edge research in telecommunication, energy, environmental sensing and optical displays,” said Qiao, associate professor in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science. “Ultrafast lasers can transform the way optical components are being manufactured, leading to a cost-effective, efficient and environmentally friendly solution for fabricating integrated photonics, freeform optics, micro-optics and optoelectronic packaging.” Global interest in ultrafast optics has increased participation in the 10th international Ultrafast Optics conference that Qiao helped organized. The biennial event is expected to draw 200 scientists from 20 countries. This year marks the first time the conference has been held in China, which has a growing presence in optics research and development. Qiao’s leadership role in the international conference and her presentation, “Ultrafast polishing of silicon-based materials”—co-authored with RIT imaging science Ph.D. student Lauren Taylor—help put RIT on the map for ultrafast optics research and associated technologies. Qiao’s Advanced Optical Fabrication, Instrumentation and Metrology Laboratory at RIT’s Center for Imaging Science produces fundamental research on theoretical modeling and experimental demonstrations of ultrafast lasers and materials interaction. Her other lines of research include an optical differentiation wavefront sensor for freeform metrology and phase imaging, and coherent phasing of segmented large-scale gratings for next-generation telescopes or laser systems. Qiao gained her reputation in the field of ultrafast optics in 2007 with landmark research at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester, where she developed an efficient optical system that produced high-energy, picosecond pulses. Qiao used three half-meter segmented gratings—optical components that control the travel path of different wavelengths of light—to compress high-intensity lasers pulses in a segmented optical system that works like a 1.5-meter, continuous system. Her research appeared in the high-impact journals Optics Letters and Optics Express. Qiao’s solution is now standard technology in high-energy laser optics.

Multispectral Imaging: New Technology Resurrects Centuries-Old Texts
Cultural Artifact and Document Imaging
Faculty/Staff

Jul. 25, 2015
Devin Coldewey

(Image courtesy of NBC News)

Look closely at the faded letters of a centuries-old piece of parchment, and behind them you might see the remnants of an earlier work: perhaps a play or poem thought lost for generations. Scholars are applying a high-tech method to extract these hidden texts, left unnoticed or ignored for centuries — and scrambling to do so before they're lost forever.

It's called multispectral imaging, and it's already brought back to life a map possibly used by Christopher Columbus, never-seen poetry by William Faulkner and a Baroque-era concerto that perhaps no living person has heard.

"Most people don't realize the potential here to radically change the canon of literature, history, music — you name it," Greg Heyworth, an English professor pursuing the technique with a small set of students and colleagues, told NBC News.

Heyworth, at the University of Mississippi, and collaborator Roger Easton, from the Rochester Institute of Technology Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, are at the forefront of what amounts to a new field of study. They aim not just to preserve old texts that may not survive another decade in a damp archive or war-torn country, but to withdraw secrets from them that no one suspected were ever there.

Easton, for instance, has been working on journals written by the famed Victorian explorer of Africa, David Livingstone — who seems to have run short of diary pages.

"He wrote on newspapers, with berry juice — and the juice immediately faded. It's unreadable," Easton said in a phone interview with NBC News. With multispectral imaging, however, Easton and others were able to make the text as clear as day.

"It's amazing how much skepticism we had at first," Easton recalled of the scholars in the field. "They were saying, 'You won't get anything out of this,' and we said, 'Oh, yes we will.'"

A newsprint page used by David Livingstone as a diary but rendered illegible by fading. Multispectral imaging all but eliminates the interfering print, leaving the handwritten text readable. UCLA David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project

'An esoteric science'

Multispectral imaging works by photographing the object illuminated by numerous, very specific wavelengths of light, one at a time. Various materials, pigments and inks respond differently to, say, ultraviolet light versus deep green, By examining each of these specially lighted images carefully and combining them ("the image processing is where the magic happens," Easton said), features that were invisible to the naked eye become distinct and readable.

"It really is an esoteric science," said Heyworth. "But it's transformative." In particular, palimpsests — documents that, to save parchment, were erased and written over long ago — respond well to multispectral imaging, but they're just the start.

A 15th-century map that may have been consulted by Columbus came to life under multispectral imaging, revealing names, annotations and descriptions far beyond what anyone expected, and potentially altering the story of the Italian's famous voyage to the New World.

The Martellus map as it appears to the naked eye (top) and through multispectral imaging (bottom). Yale University / Rochester Institute of Technology

Musical scores damaged by fire, time, water, or all three, can also be brought back to life. There are Biblical gospels sitting around that no one living has ever read. And a few lost poems by Faulkner that would have crumbled to nothing in a few years were saved as well ("They're terrible," said Heyworth, but nevertheless they are highly important to Faulkner scholars).

These recovered scraps, it turns out, aren't just footnotes or ephemera. Entirely new primary texts and pages of works thousands of years old are being discovered. Documents from classical authors like Archimedes and Galen, and newer works, like the the Declaration of Independence and Shakespeare-era books, are being scoured for interesting details. (Jefferson erased "subjects" and wrote "citizens" in one section of the Declaration, for instance.)

With somewhere over 50,000 (and perhaps several times that) parchments, scrolls, maps and other documents lurking in back rooms of monasteries, forgotten collections at libraries, or even hidden inside other books, there's a lot of potential for big finds.

A page from a Greek manuscript (visible light on left, processed multispectral image on right), on which can be seen letters written left to right and a separate set, partly erased, going up and down. Holy Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai / EMEL Sinai Palimpsests Project

The problem is that so few people are skilled in this kind of detective work. The equipment is fairly expensive — to build one from scratch might cost $100,000, Easton estimated — and can be bulky, though a new portable version fits in a suitcase and the cost is coming down. Even if it were cheap and compact, would-be discoverers require a lot of expertise to wrangle the dozens of images and settings involved.

With a dedicated group and a bit of grant money, however, it would just be a matter of time before these treasures were uncovered. If only there were time.

History in ruins

"Many of these objects aren't going to last," Heyworth said. "They're out there where there isn't money or the ability to reach them — and they're in danger, as you've seen with ISIS."

The Islamic extremist group has been razing monuments and statues all over the Middle East, and armed conflicts often go hand in hand with looting, bombing and vandalism of historical sites and museums.

And if war doesn't ruin these treasures, they can fall to nature or old age: Documents are routinely lost to flooding, storms, fires and other natural disasters. Even relatively recent paper records, including documents from the civil rights movement in the 1960s, are fading away to nothing. Without someone like Easton or Heyworth to recover them, they will end up simply being thrown away.

 

Recovery workers sort through books damaged by floodwaters at the Louisville Free Public Library's main downtown branch in 2009. Bill Luster / The Courier-Journal via AP file

The gravity of the situation is producing a healthy multidisciplinary effort that's all too uncommon these days, Easton said: "You've got scientists and humanities people trying to talk. And we don't always speak the same language."

The goal is to spread the knowledge and equipment as widely as possible — Easton, Heyworth and their colleagues are in talks with libraries, universities and archives around the world in hopes that other concerned scholars and engineers will lend a hand. Much research is still needed about how to improve the process, detect falsified data and determine why and when multispectral imaging even works.

In the meantime, the results speak, or perhaps play, for themselves: Heyworth has retrieved a concerto by Georg Philipp Telemann, a contemporary of Mozart's, and hopes to find a collaborator who can help perform it — possibly for the first time in centuries. And the researchers themselves are having the time of their lives.

"It's stuff that we couldn't even imagine doing 20 years ago," Easton said. "Whenever we get something, I'm just blown away that, one, that we got it — and two, that I'm the one that gets to do it." 

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Original Source: NBC News

N.Y. consortium wins bid for a multimillion-dollar national photonics center

RIT, UR, SUNY Polytechnic leading a group that will receive $110 million federal investment, plus $250 million from the state

Jul. 27, 2015
Ellen Rosen

N.Y. consortium wins bid for a multimillion-dollar national photonics center

RIT, UR, SUNY Polytechnic leading a group that will receive $110 million federal investment, plus $250 million from the state




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A New York-based consortium, led by SUNY Polytechnic, RIT and the University of Rochester, has been awarded a multimillion-dollar federal investment to create a national photonics center. The award, issued under the federal government’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), was announced today by Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a news conference at a SUNY Polytechnic facility at Canal Ponds in Greece.

A New York-based consortium, led by SUNY Polytechnic, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester, has been awarded a multimillion-dollar federal investment to create a national photonics center.

The award, issued under the federal government’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), was announced today by Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a news conference at a SUNY Polytechnic facility at Canal Ponds in Greece, a suburb of Rochester. The new institute will be called AIM, short for American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics.

The consortium, which also includes Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, University of California at Santa Barbara and other academic and industrial partners, including Alfred and Columbia universities, was chosen over two other proposals that had also advanced to a final round in a U.S. Department of Defense program to establish a National Institute of Photonics. Championing the New York application, submitted on behalf of the consortium by the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, were Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. The federal government has pledged $110 million for the new national institute and New York state has pledged $250 million.

“We applaud President Obama for recognizing the strategic importance of this industry, and choosing the New York state proposal to advance it,” said RIT President Bill Destler. “The Rochester region, with one of the largest photonics manufacturing hubs in the nation, plus academic centers with renowned work in microsystems, imaging science and packaging, is uniquely positioned to make great contributions in this field. We thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congresswoman Slaughter for their advocacy and leadership on behalf of our application, and we thank Governor Cuomo for the very significant commitment of state funding that no doubt played a key role in helping us win this proposal.”

Ryne Raffaelle, RIT vice president for research and associate provost, said advanced developments in integrated photonics are essential to the nation’s manufacturing capabilities in such areas as high-speed data and telecommunications. He said technologies developed at this national center would allow for more information to be transmitted far more efficiently.

Raffaelle said RIT is expected to support the institute’s work through workforce development, including short continuing education courses that use the university’s laboratories as well as its undergraduate and graduate programs, including a bachelor’s and master’s programs in microelectronic engineering, master’s programs in manufacturing and mechanical systems integration, telecommunications engineering technology, electrical engineering, computer engineering and imaging sciences, as well as its Ph.D. in microsystems engineering.

This is the second major designation of this type for the region. In 2014, RIT was named a core partner in the Chicago-based Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute and is slated for an investment of up to $20 million.

RIT has contributed to advances in the design, fabrication and manufacturing of electronic and photonic devices for more than 30 years as technology generations have progressed from the micron-scale to the nano-scale.

RIT’s leadership includes:

  • The microelectronics program, created in 1982, was the nation’s first Bachelor of Science program specializing in the fabrication of semiconductor devices and integrated circuits.
  • The microsystems engineering Ph.D. program began in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering in 2002.
  • The university’s first doctoral program was imaging science in 1990, the first of its kind in the nation.
  • More than 2,000 RIT engineers have been placed into related engineering positions across New York State and throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

RIT assets in this area include:

  • Semiconductor and Microsystems Fabrication Lab: This includes more than 10,000 square feet of cleanroom space dedicated to manufacturing support, including a newly acquired metal organic vapor-phase epitaxy (MOVPE) system. This state-of-the-art tool gives researchers the ability to develop high-performance lasers and other optoelectronic devices, and is expected to be used to support fabrication and prototyping projects. http://www.smfl.rit.edu/
  • The Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly: This academic research lab offers the Electronics Packaging industry research services, failure analysis, training, process development, consulting and laboratory rental. http://www.rit.edu/cast/cema/
  • RIT Nanophotonics Group: This group works to demonstrate optoelectronic chips that will revolutionize future computing, communication and sensing systems. http://www.rit.edu/~w-nanoph/photon/
  • The Center for Detectors: The center designs, develops, and implements new advanced sensor technologies through collaboration with academic researchers, industry engineers, government scientists, and university/college students. http://ridl.cfd.rit.edu/
  • The IT Collaboratory: The NYSERDA funded IT Collaboratory http://www.rit.edu/research/itc/

 

Jun 12 2015, 7:35 pm ET Advanced Imaging Reveals Secrets of 1491 Map Columbus May Have Used
Cultural Artifact and Document Imaging

Jul. 6, 2015
Devin Coldewey

A map from 1491 that Christopher Columbus may have consulted is proving to be a historical treasure trove. The map, created by German cartographer Henricus Martellus toward the end of the 15th century and now housed at Yale, has faded and blurred over time, but researchers have managed to pry out its secrets with a technique called multispectral imaging.

The Martellus map as it appears to the naked eye (top) and through multispectral imaging (bottom). Yale University / Rochester Institute of Technology

Related: Santa Maria Found? Wreck May Be Columbus' Sunken Flagship

By photographing the map illuminated by a series of specific bandwidths of light and then comparing and overlapping the results, hidden details emerged that have cartographers reeling. There are descriptions of unknown peoples (clearly fanciful, but still interesting), a greater extent of Africa mapped than expected from the period, and details of Japan that suggest that Columbus likely consulted this map or one like it when preparing for his famous transatlantic voyage.

Related: Mysterious renaissance map charts cartographer's methods

About 80 percent of the text obscured by fading has been recovered, according to the Rochester Institute of Technology's Roger Easton, one of the researchers. "We're still finding things," he said in a news release. "One day last week we pulled out 11 characters. The next day, we got several words."

When the project is deemed complete, the maps will be made available via the website of Yale's Beinecke Library

 

Seeking a smarter way to diagnose prostate cancer James Goodman, Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle
Biomedical Imaging

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Hans Schmitthenner, a research scientist at Rochester Institute of Technology, hopes to make detecting prostate cancer — the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men — less of a guessing game.

Jun. 19, 2015
James Goodman, Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

RIT prof finds new way to detect prostate cancer. Video by James Goodman

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Hans Schmitthenner, a research scientist at Rochester Institute of Technology, hopes to make detecting prostate cancer — the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men — less of a guessing game.

Non-cancerous cells as well as cancerous cells can produce elevated PSA levels in the test for prostate-specific antigens commonly used to find signs of prostate cancer. Just a quarter of those patients who have a biopsy taken because of heightened PSA levels actually have prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Another procedure, the digital rectal exam, which tries to detect cancerous growths by hand, can be painful and is also not a sure method because small growths are difficult to find.

Schmitthenner's diagnostic procedure — still in its early stages of development — attempts to take a lot of the uncertainty out of prostate cancer detection by using targeting agents that seek out any cancer cells in the prostate and make them stand out with dyes that stick to their membranes.

"By using targeted dyes, we can say, 'These cells light up, so there is a high likelihood of disease in those cells,' " said Schmitthenner, who is an associate research professor in chemistry and imaging science.

A follow-up biopsy could then be taken with a much greater certainty of finding cancer because the dyes would have already pointed to tissues likely to be cancerous. The prostate, which surrounds the urethra, is a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder.

Schmitthenner's research — to be effective — would need to be coupled with new technology developed by RIT imaging science professor Navalgund Rao and Vikram Dogra, who is a professor of radiology, urology and biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

While Schmitthenner provides the chemistry to make the cancerous cells stand out, Rao and Dogra have created the technology to create a clear ultrasound image of prostate cancer.

 

As it is, there is a degree of collaboration. Rao is on Schmitthenner's team and Schmitthenner has worked with Rao and Dogra.

"This is a fabulous partnership," said Schmitthenner.

IDENTIFYING CANCER CELLS

The Schmitthenner half of the partnership is funded by a $440,367 National Institutes of Health grant. He is supervising a crew of RIT students working on synthesizing the dyes and combining them with targeting agents.

The dye-targeting agent combo will be tested first on cancer cells in petri dishes.

If the research successfully progresses, a person being tested would be injected with the dyes combined with a targeting agent that directs the dyes to a cancerous prostate.

Using the Rao-Dogra laser, near-infrared laser pulses would be beamed at the prostate and absorbed by the dyes that stick to any prostate cancer cells. The laser light would be adjusted so that only the dyes absorb the laser and create ultrasound.

 

Ultrasound is typically not an effective way to detect cancer at an early stage because the images are not high resolution. Rather, they are murky.

But in this case the ultrasound would be produced when the laser hits the dyes on the cancer cells.

"It heats the cells. They emit the sound," Schmitthenner said. "We call it making the cancer cells scream."

GIVING FOCUS

An acoustic lens device invented by Rao and Dogra would then — like a camera — focus the ultrasound emitted by the dyes as well as amplify it, resulting in a clear ultrasound image of the prostate cancer on a computer screen.

Rao recently received a $436,290 NIH grant, with $49,812 going to Dogra, to continue developing technology — photoacoustic imaging — that, with short bursts of a laser, causes the prostate area to emit ultrasound waves.

Such an approach — without the dyes and targeting agents that Schmitthenner is developing — tries to detect higher hemoglobin concentrations found when the prostate is cancerous. That happens because cancer cells are faster growing than normal cells, resulting in increased blood flow to these cells.

But the higher hemoglobin counts are difficult to detect because the ultrasound created isn't as strong — so Rao and Dogra approached Schmitthenner two years about collaborating.

"He as a chemist has the expertise to attach the dyes to the membranes of the cancer cells," said Rao. "With the hemoglobin, I don't have direct evidence that the ultrasound is coming from the cancer cells."

The dyes, said Schmitthenner, are a much more effective indicator — sticking to the cancer cells and producing ultrasound when hit by the laser..

With these combined technologies, the researchers hope that images of prostate cancer — resembling glowing spots — would show up as distinct areas on the computer screen.

Since one of every seven men, usually older adults, is diagnosed with prostate cancer, improving detection techniques can have widespread implications as the medical profession looks for more exact procedures that would be more cost-effective.

The result would be performing biopsies on a smaller number of people who have a greater likelihood of having cancer, with far fewer adults getting false alarms that they might have cancer.

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CIS Researchers Fight Prostate Cancer
Biomedical Imaging
Faculty/Staff

Research faculty members Hans Schmitthenner and Naval Rao are seeking a smarter way to diagnose prostate cancer

Jun. 19, 2015
James Goodman

Rochester Institute of Technology research scientist Hans Schmitthenner hopes to make detecting prostate cancer — the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men — less of a guessing game.


(Photo: photo by James Goodman)

Non-cancerous cells as well as cancerous cells can produce elevated PSA levels in the test for prostate-specific antigens commonly used to find signs of prostate cancer. Just a quarter of those patients who have a biopsy taken because of heightened PSA levels actually have prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Another procedure, the digital rectal exam, which tries to detect cancerous growths by hand, can be painful and is also not a sure method because small growths are difficult to find.

Schmitthenner's diagnostic procedure — still in its early stages of development — attempts to take a lot of the uncertainty out of prostate cancer detection by using targeting agents that seek out any cancer cells in the prostate and make them stand out with dyes that stick to their membranes.

"By using targeted dyes, we can say, 'These cells light up, so there is a high likelihood of disease in those cells,' " said Schmitthenner, who is an associate research professor in chemistry and imaging science.

A follow-up biopsy could then be taken with a much greater certainty of finding cancer because the dyes would have already pointed to tissues likely to be cancerous. The prostate, which surrounds the urethra, is a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder.

Schmitthenner's research — to be effective — would need to be coupled with new technology developed by RIT imaging science professor Navalgund Rao and Dr. Vikram Dogra, who is a professor of radiology, urology and biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

While Schmittenner provides the chemistry to make the cancerous cells stand out, Rao and Dogra have created the technology to create a clear ultrasound image of prostate cancer.

As it is, there is a degree of collaboration. Rao is on Schmitthenner's team and Schmitthenner has worked with Rao and Dogra.

"This is a fabulous partnership," said Schmitthenner.


RIT student Molly McMahon making a dye. (Photo: photo by James Goodman)

Identifying cancer cells

The Schmitthenner half of the partnership is funded by a $440,367 National Institutes of Health grant. He is supervising a crew of RIT students working on synthesizing the dyes and combining them with targeting agents.

The dye-targeting agent combo will be tested first on cancer cells in petri dishes.

If the research successfully progresses, a person being tested would be injected with the dyes combined with a targeting agent that directs the dyes to a cancerous prostate.

Using the Rao-Dogra laser, near-infrared laser pulses would be beamed at the prostate and absorbed by the dyes that stick to any prostate cancer cells. The laser light would be be adjusted so that only the dyes absorb the laser and create ultrasound.

Ultrasound is typically not an effective way to detect cancer at an early stage because the images are not high resolution. Rather, they are murky.

But in this case the ultrasound would be produced when the laser hits the dyes on the cancer cells.

"It heats the cells. They emit the sound," Schmitthenner said. "We call it making the cancer cells scream."


RIT student Nnamdi Akporji purifies a targeting agent. (Photo: photo by James Goodman)

Giving focus

An acoustic lens device invented by Rao and Dogra would then — like a camera — focus the ultrasound emitted by the dyes as well as amplify it, resulting in a clear ultrasound image of the prostate cancer on a computer screen.

Rao recently received a $436,290 NIH grant, with $49,812 going to Dogra, to continue developing technology — photoacoustic imaging — that, with short bursts of a laser, causes the prostate area to emit ultrasound waves.

Such an approach — without the dyes and targeting agents that Schmitthenner is developing — tries to detect higher hemoglobin concentrations found when the prostate is cancerous. That happens because cancer cells are faster growing than normal cells, resulting in increased blood flow to these cells.

But the higher hemoglobin counts are difficult to detect because the ultrasound created isn't as strong — so Rao and Dogra approached Schmitthenner two years about collaborating.

"He as a chemist has the expertise to attach the dyes to the membranes of the cancer cells," said Rao. "With the hemoglobin, I don't have direct evidence that the ultrasound is coming from the cancer cells."

The dyes, said Schmitthenner, are a much more effective indicator — sticking to the cancer cells and producing ultrasound when hit by the laser..

With these combined technologies, the researchers hope that images of prostate cancer — resembling glowing spots — would show up as distinct areas on the computer screen.

Since one of every seven men, usually older adults, is diagnosed with prostate cancer, improving detection techniques can have widespread implications as the medical profession looks for more exact procedures that would be more cost-effective.

The result would be performing biopsies on a smaller number of people who have a greater likelihood of having cancer, with far fewer adults getting false alarms that they might have cancer.

JGOODMAN@DemocratandChronicle.com

Read More Read Full Story »
Original Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Advanced Imaging Reveals Secrets of 1491 Map Columbus May Have Used
Faculty/Staff
Cultural Artifact and Document Imaging

Jun. 12, 2015
Devin Coldewey

A map from 1491 that Christopher Columbus may have consulted is proving to be a historical treasure trove. The map, created by German cartographer Henricus Martellus toward the end of the 15th century and now housed at Yale, has faded and blurred over time, but researchers have managed to pry out its secrets with a technique called multispectral imaging.

The Martellus map as it appears to the naked eye (top) and through multispectral imaging (bottom). Yale University / Rochester Institute of Technology

By photographing the map illuminated by a series of specific bandwidths of light and then comparing and overlapping the results, hidden details emerged that have cartographers reeling. There are descriptions of unknown peoples (clearly fanciful, but still interesting), a greater extent of Africa mapped than expected from the period, and details of Japan that suggest that Columbus likely consulted this map or one like it when preparing for his famous transatlantic voyage.

About 80 percent of the text obscured by fading has been recovered, according to the Rochester Institute of Technology's Roger Easton, one of the researchers. "We're still finding things," he said in a news release. "One day last week we pulled out 11 characters. The next day, we got several words."

When the project is deemed complete, the maps will be made available via the website of Yale's Beinecke Library

Read More Read Full Story »
Original Source: NBC News

Hidden secrets of Yale’s 1491 world map revealed via multispectral imaging
Faculty/Staff
Cultural Artifact and Document Imaging

CIS Professor Roger Easton quoted

Jun. 11, 2015
Mike Cummings

This map of the world drawn by Henricus Martellus in about 1491 was donated to Yale in 1962. Its faded condition (shown above) has stymied researchers for decades. The multispectral image of the map (below) reveals text and details invisible to the naked eye.

 

Henricus Martellus, a German cartographer working in Florence in the late 15th century, produced a highly detailed map of the known world. According to experts, there is strong evidence that Christopher Columbus studied this map and that it influenced his thinking before his fateful voyage.

Martellus’ map arrived at Yale in 1962, the gift of an anonymous donor. Scholars at the time hailed the map’s importance and argued that it could provide a missing link to the cartographic record at the dawn of the Age of Discovery. However, five centuries of fading and scuffing had rendered much of the map’s text and other details illegible or invisible, limiting its research value.

A team of researchers and imaging specialists is recovering the lost information through a multispectral-imaging project. Their work is yielding discoveries about how the world was viewed over 500 years ago.

The multispectral images show previously lost details in Martellus' depiction Africa that suggest the German cartographer used data from African sources, not European explorations.

Last August the five-member team visited the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, where for years the Martellus map hung from a wall outside the reading room. (It was recently moved to the Yale University Art Gallery for storage while the library is under renovation.) The team, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, photographed the map in 12 reflective colors, including several frequencies beyond the range of visible light. Those images were processed and analyzed with high-tech software.

“We’ve recovered more information than we dared to hope for,” says Chet Van Duzer, a map historian who is leading the project.

The map, which dates to about 1491 and depicts the Earth’s surface from the Atlantic in the west to Japan in the east, is dotted with descriptions in Latin of various regions and peoples. A text box visible over northern Asia describes the people of “Balor” who live without wine or wheat and subsist on deer meat.

Van Duzer says the new images reveal many such descriptions. For instance, text uncovered in southern Asia describe the “Panotii” people as having ears so large that they could use them as sleeping bags.

Newly revealed text in eastern Asian is borrowed from “The Travels of Marco Polo.” From the discrepancies in wording, Van Duzer has determined that Martellus used a manuscript version of the travelogue, not the sole printed edition in Latin that existed at the time.

Perhaps the most interesting revelations, say the researchers, concern southern Africa. By studying visible river systems and legible place names, Van Duzer had previously determined that Martellus based his depiction of the region on the Egyptus N[MC1] ovelo [BL2] map, which survives in three manuscripts of Ptolemy’s “Geography.” The Egyptus Novelo used geographical data from native Africans, not European explorations. It is thought that the map was based on information shared by three Ethiopian delegates to the Council of Florence in 1441.

A text box in the Indian Ocean warns of the orca, "a sea monster that is like the sun when it shines, whose form can hardly be described, except that its skin is soft and its body huge."

The new images show that the Martellus map’s depiction of southern Africa extends further east than the known versions of the Egyptus Novelo do, suggesting that the German cartographer was working from a more complete version of the map that showed the eastern reaches of the continent.

“It’s a seminal and tremendously important document of African mapping by the people of Africa, in this case preserved by a western source,” says Van Duzer.

The new images also have helped Van Duzer to determine how the Martellus map influenced later cartographers. The map is similar to a world map drawn by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in 1507, which was the first map to apply the name “America” to the New World. The multispectral images show many of the same texts on Martellus’ map in the same locations as on the 1507 map, confirming that the Martellus map was an essential source for Waldseemüller, says Van Duzer. At the same time, he notes, the cartographers’ works are not identical: Waldseemüller borrowed most of his place names in coastal Africa from a different map.

“It puts you in the mapmaker’s workshop,” says Van Duzer. “It’s easy to imagine Waldseemüller at his desk consulting various sources.”

This text found in northern Africa says "Here there are large wildernesses in which there are lions, large leopards, and many other animals different from ours."

Waldseemüller was not alone in contemplating Martellus’ work. Van Duzer says it is nearly certain that Columbus examined the Martellus map, or a map very similar to it.

Writings by Columbus’s son Ferdinand indicate that the explorer had expected to find Japan where Martellus depicted it, and with the same orientation, far off the Asian coast, and with its main axis running north and south. No other surviving maps from the period show Japan with that configuration, says Van Duzer.

In addition, the journal of one of Columbus’s crewmembers, who believed the expedition was sailing along island chains in southern Asia, describes the region much as it is depicted in the Martellus map.

Revealing the map’s faded details provides a more complete picture of Columbus’s perception of geography, notes the historian.

“It’s always interesting to learn how people conceived the world at that period in history,” says Van Duzer. “The late 15th century was a time when people’s image of the world was changing so rapidly. Even within Martellus’s own career, what he was showing of the world expanded dramatically.”

The discoveries are the result of painstaking effort. The multispectral images are processed using special software that finds the precise combination of spectral bands to enhance the visibility of text. The work involves a lot of experimentation.

Text in the southern Asia portion of the map describes the "Panotii" people, who purportedly had ears that were so large they could use them as sleeping bags.

The map’s text was written in a variety of pigments, which complicates the task of recovering lost letters because individual pigments respond differently to light.

“We’re still finding things,” says Professor Roger Easton of the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at Rochester Institute of Technology. “We’re focusing on these difficult cartouches and text blocks. One day last week we pulled out 11 characters. The next day, we got several words.”

Easton estimates the team has uncovered about 80% of recoverable text. Some of the text is entirely invisible before processing. The team is currently at work uncovering details in the region around Java.

Once the project is completed, the new images will be made available to scholars and the public on the Beinecke Library’s website.

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Original Source: YaleNews

2015 Alpha Sigma Lambda Honorary Society recipients
Undergraduate

Thirty-seven RIT students recognized for activities, scholarship and leadership

May. 20, 2015
Greg Livadas

201505/alphasigmalambda15.jpg

Blu Bloat

The 2015 Alpha Sigma Lambda Honorary Society members with RIT President Bill Destler.

More than three dozen graduating Rochester Institute of Technology seniors were inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honorary Society on Monday night at a dinner hosted by RIT President Bill Destler.

“Alpha Sigma Lambda is an event that celebrates the best and the brightest,” said Heath Boice-Pardee, associate vice president for Student Affairs. “They are students who achieve high academic success and found a way to balance leadership both inside and outside of RIT.”

Students were able to invite a mentor, often an RIT faculty or staff member who helped them complete their degrees.

Alpha Sigma Lambda was founded in 1964 to honor students who represent the guiding principles of ASL: Activities, Scholarship and Leadership. Recipients must be a senior in an undergraduate program and have at least a 3.4 cumulative GPA.

Nominees are judged on the basis of scholarship, active participation and contributions in activities, and leadership in academic and co-curricular student activities. Service to the community is also considered.

The students are:

College of Science

  • Rose Rustowicz, an imaging science major from Amherst, N.Y.
  • Juliana Shaw, a biochemistry major from Hilton, N.Y.
  • Sarah Wang, a biotechnology and molecular science major from Plattsburgh, N.Y.
  • Chelsea Weidman, a biochemistry major from Rochester, N.Y.

American University in Kosovo

  • Jeta Aliu, an applied arts and sciences major from Prishtina, Kosovo.
  • Blendrit Elezaj, an applied arts and sciences major from Prishtina, Kosovo.

College of Applied Science and Technology

  • Ethan Ausburn, an electrical mechanical engineering technology major from Ocoee, Fla.
  • Rachael Dufford, a packaging science major from Glen Gardner, N.J.
  • Sara Mikulas, an environmental sustainability, health and safety major from Garden City, N.Y.
  • Kiana Richards, a packaging science major from Columbia, Md.
  • Morgan Scoyne, an applied arts and sciences major from Drumbo, Ontario, Canada.

Kate Gleason College of Engineering

  • Samantha Abraham, a chemical engineering student from Agawam, Mass.
  • Caitlin Donovan, a chemical engineering major from Whitesboro, N.Y.
  • Daniel Miller, a mechanical engineering major from Schnecksville, Pa.

B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences

  • Claire Bernard, a new media interactive development major from Albany, Ga.
  • Emma Nelson, a software engineering student from Moline, Ill.

College of Imaging Arts and Sciences

  • Ben Gordon, an industrial design major from Rochester, N.Y.
  • Sarah Ann Jump, a photojournalism major from Cordova, Md.
  • Rachel Nicholson, a graphic design major from University Heights, Ohio.
  • Nora Rogers, a film and animation major from South Burlington, Vt.
  • Yekaterina Satanina, a film and animation major from Hamden, Conn.
  • Paige Satterly, a visual media major from Robins, Iowa.
  • Mariah Texidor, a professional photographic illustration major from Lodi, N.J.
  • Caitlin Williams, a biomedical photographic communications major from Moriah, N.Y.

College of Health Sciences and Technology

  • Kyle Burke, a biomedical sciences major from Chelmsford, Mass.
  • Kimberley Duru, a biomedical sciences major from Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Daniel Malcaus, a nutrition management major from Rockaway Beach, N.Y.
  • Patrick McMullan, a biomedical sciences major from Easton, Pa.
  • Rebecca Nolan, a biomedical sciences major from Media, Pa.
  • Alyssa Ratajczak, a biomedical sciences major from Cheektowaga, N.Y.

College of Liberal Arts

  • Brandon Dziedzic, a psychology major from Sloan, N.Y.
  • William Gerken, a political science and journalism major from Williamsville, N.Y.
  • Zoe Gordon, a political science major from New York, N.Y.
  • Tessa Riley, a psychology major from Madison, N.J.

Saunders College of Business

  • Alexandra Binnington, a finance major from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Michael Hayes, a finance major from Hamburg, N.Y.
  • David Weinberger, a new media marketing, media arts and technology major from Havertown, Pa.
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Original Source: University News

Imaging Science Undergraduate's AMA Reaches Reddit Front Page
Undergraduate
Student Stories
Cultural Artifact and Document Imaging

Fourth-year student Kevin Sacca's "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) about multispectral imaging of historical documents proved highly popular on social network reddit

Jun. 16, 2015

Imaging Science senior Kevin Sacca is spending his summer working with Dr. Roger Easton Jr. capturing and processing multispectral images of historic documents. In response to public curiosity about the nature of his work, Sacca set up an AMA ("Ask Me Anything") interview session on social networking website reddit. The session proved to be wildly popular, racking up over 350 comments and even making it to the front page of reddit. 

You can read the full thread, titled "I am a scientist who utilizes multispectral imaging to recover and preserve information from old documents. AMA!", or check out highlights from AMA highlights.com

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