tv 60 Minutes CBS April 1, 2018 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
ure. captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> pelley: we first met army sergeant first class brian mancini seven years ago after he recovered from a roadside bomb blast. >> my whole face has been rebuilt. i used to look like brad pitt. ( laughter ) this is what i got stuck with. >> pelley: last year, mancini committed suicide, after years of pain and depression. his life had been devoted to country. now, his brain has been donated to science, and what researchers have found may be very important. so, what you and your colleagues have discovered, is something new? >> this has changed thinking about blast exposure and its consequences. ( ticking ) ♪ ♪
>> williams: of all the orchestras daniel barenboim leads around the world, this might be the one that moves him the most. ♪ ♪ is it surprising, really, that if you bring very good arab musicians and very good israeli musicians together, that... that they play together? they make... >> of course it is surprising, because from the education where they come from, they are taught the other is a monster. ( ticking ) >> whitaker: you've heard about pompeii, the ancient roman city destroyed when mount vesuvius erupted in 79 a.d. less well-known is the neighboring city of herculaneum, also buried by the volcano. when the city was rediscovered, excavators found what could be the richest repository of ancient western wisdom-- a library filled with papyrus scrolls.
>> there's no archaeological site in the world that matches this. >> whitaker: the scholars think there could be unknown greek and latin masterpieces-- even the first references to jesus. ( ticking ) >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm scott pelley. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm holly williams. >> i'm bill whitaker. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking ) [ phone rings ] hi, tom. hey, how's the college visit? you remembered. it's good. does it make the short list? you remembered that too. yeah, i'm afraid so. knowing what's important to you... it's okay. this is what we've been planning for. thanks, bye. that's what's important to us. it's why 7 million investors work with edward jones.
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your doctor will test to see if you've ever had hepatitis b, which may flare up and cause serious liver problems during and after harvoni treatment. tell your doctor if you've ever had hepatitis b, a liver transplant, other liver or kidney problems, hiv or any other medical conditions and about all the medicines you take including herbal supplements. taking amiodarone with harvoni can cause a serious slowing of your heart rate. common side effects of harvoni include tiredness, headache and weakness. ready to let go of hep c? ask your hep c specialist about harvoni. >> pelley: a new medical discovery has profound implications for wounded warriors.
it's a previously unknown type of brain injury uncovered in veterans who are exposed to the invisible wave of energy that erupts from high explosives. the evidence was found in the brains of veterans who died. and tonight, we have a rare opportunity to introduce you to one of the vets who made the discovery possible. retired army sergeant first class brian mancini killed himself in 2017 after descending into psychosis. but we met mancini years before, in 2011, after he made a nearly miraculous recovery from the impact of a roadside bomb in iraq. there's no one better to begin this story than the late brian mancini himself. >> brian mancini: i got hit in the face. i knew pretty early that i had lost my eye. i didn't know how severe my injuries were, but i knew i was hurt very bad. >> pelley: we met brian mancini six years before his suicide. we had followed a group of
wounded vets back to iraq on a therapy program endorsed by the pentagon, designed to help them come to terms with the day they were wounded and leave that day behind. >> brian mancini: you know, we often hear about guys that carry these heartaches their whole lives, and it slowly erodes them. i don't want to be that guy, you know? i want to be able to have a successful life and not burdened with the demons that i see here. i'm glad i'm alive. >> pelley: on that return trip to iraq, mancini visited the field hospital that saved him. >> brian mancini: my whole face has been rebuilt. i used to look like brad pitt, but this is what i got stuck with. i have a titanium mesh plate in my forehead. they rebuilt my whole orbital socket. my sinuses were replaced or rebuilt. >> pelley: how many surgeries
did that come to? idea.ian mancini: i hao i have no idea. >> pelley: years of surgeries, pain and struggle were witnessed by brian mancini's brother and sister, michael and nichole. >> michael mancini: oh, he was a patriot. he loved this country. he loved this country. >> nichole mancini: he was a natural leader, and i think that the military was a natural fit for him. and he was good at his job, and he loved it. >> brian mancini: i came up with this idea... >> pelley: after his recovery, he created a new job for himself. at home in phoenix, he founded "honor house" to provide wounded vets with therapies that helped him, including yoga, acupuncture and especially fly-fishing. >> michael mancini: he came leaps and bounds. and brian two years ago was the best brian i've ever known in my life.
>> pelley: but as he reached his peak in 2015, mancini suddenly began to suffer delusions. he imagined the government was spying on him, that members of the honor house board were with the c.i.a., and he thought he was being tracked with cell phones. >> michael mancini: it was delusional. it was irrational. it was like a progression. >> nichole mancini: he wouldn't let us have our cell phones around him. >> michael mancini: very paranoid. >> nichole mancini: his mind had started to almost turn against him, and people that... >> pelley: his mind had turned against him? >> nichole mancini: yeah. brian would often say, "i don't know if this is real or if i had if i dreamt it." >> pelley: the honor house board took control of the charity from mancini. he had been depressed before, but not insane. last year, mancini donated his life savings to his church, drove to this remote canal and shot himself in the head. ♪ ♪ the betrayal of his mind had been so sudden, so shocking, that his family was certain
there must be a cause that no one understood. >> michael mancini: and the first, initial thought to me was, "i need to find someone who would take my brother's brain tissue for further study and further research." >> pelley: the mancinis found neuropathologist dr. daniel perl. perl oversees the brain tissue repository at the uniformed services university of the health sciences, the military medical school in bethesda, maryland. perl also wondered whether some torments of war might be rooted in an undiscovered kind of brain injury caused by the supersonic pressure wave of high explosives. >> daniel perl: that started in world war i, and we had the whole issue of shell shock. and then, in world war ii, we had battle fatigue. then, in korea, we had p.t.s.d. i mean, these were all expressions of responses to being in warfare, much of it being exposed to blast. and we knew nothing about what
was going on in the brain. >> pelley: perl's team sliced brain tissue from eight veterans and examined the tissue under a microscope, rare for its power. that doesn't look like the one i had in high school. >> perl: no, it's not. >> pelley: perl says his microscope is thousands of times more powerful than the best m.r.i., and it helped them discover this previously unknown form of brain injury when perl compared the brains of the vets to civilians who had injured their brains in car wrecks. >> perl: the difference is just so dramatic. >> pelley: these on the left are people who suffered... >> perl: a single individual's brain who suffered an automobile accident, a single individual who was exposed to blast, stained identically for scarring. >> pelley: the brown area is the stain that reveals the scarring, and you don't see it in the person who hit their head in the automobile accident. >> perl: that's right. when an i.e.d. goes off, there's
a tremendous explosion. and with the explosion comes the formation of something called the blast wave. and it is sufficiently powerful to pass through the skull and through the brain. and when it does that, it does damage the brain tissue. >> pelley: do you have a slide of brian mancini's brain? >> perl: yes, we do. >> pelley: the dark brown is scarring, running along lines where two types of brain tissue meet, the so-called gray matter and white matter. >> perl: the locations were areas of the brain that had differing densities. this was the interface between gray matter and white matter, between brain and fluid such as spinal fluid, or brain and blood. >> pelley: why do you see the scarring where the white matter and the gray matter come together? >> perl: the white matter have a somewhat higher density than the gray matter, and that's where the energy of the blast wave is released.
>> pelley: they bang together. >> perl: in a sense, yeah. >> pelley: do you see the scarring at these interfaces throughout the entire brain? >> perl: we're looking at that now, okay? by and large, yes. >> pelley: evidence of this scarring was found in all of the veterans, none of the civilians. do you believe that you're going to find a connection between this and post-traumatic stress disorder? >> perl: in a sense, we already have. every case that we've looked at has been diagnosed with p.t.s.d. and what that connection is, the nature of that connection, whether the scarring in the brain leads one to be more apt to develop p.t.s.d. or whether there's so much overlap between the symptoms that one gets with the damage in the brain that it looks like p.t.s.d., we don't know yet.
>> do you see that tiny hole there? that is an abnormality. >> pelley: earlier this season, we reported on research by another laboratory into vets who showed evidence of c.t.e., the kind of brain injury found in football players. dr. perl says his team has discovered something distinct from c.t.e. >> perl: very different, okay? one is a huge blast wave that almost destroys his face, passes through his brain. it's a one-time thing, okay. it's not the sort of daily and weekly impact injury that an n.f.l. player has. the other thing is that our service members are coming home from deployment symptomatic. by and large, c.t.e. in the football player, for instance, occurs in their retirement, after they've played. >> pelley: years later? >> perl: years later, right. they become symptomatic. so, the timing of it seemed to be a very different proposition. >> pelley: but it's absolutely
clear to you that brian mancini did not have c.t.e.? >> perl: that's right. we looked very carefully for c.t.e. in brian's brain, and he just did not have it. >> pelley: so, what you and your colleagues have discovered is something new? >> perl: yes. yes. this is new. this... this has changed thinking about blast exposure and its consequences. >> pelley: we were able to add something to dr. perl's research that he rarely sees, a description of the blast that wounded one of his deceased subjects. >> brian mancini: most of my forehead was blasted out. i had a basal skull fracture along with some fractured vertebrae in my back and some burns and shrapnel. when i was doing the assessment of my injuries, i remember laying down and opening my mouth as wide as possible, and reaching in and scraping the debris that had been knocked loose, and the blood from my airway so i could breathe.
and shortly after that, i lost consciousness. >> perl: it's just stunning to see this. it's not something i normally get to experience. i mean, that he survived this injury is just remarkable, much less what happened afterwards. >> pelley: now that the discovery is known, perl hopes research can begin into improving the lives of those who suffer with this hidden wound of war. what's your theory today on how this damage manifests itself in a living human being? >> perl: well, obviously wherever there is damage, there must be some loss of function. persistent headaches. they have problems with sleep. they have problems concentrating, memory problems, swings of mood, anger management problems. >> pelley: the discovery is a lone fact that raises many questions. can the scarring ever be seen in a living patient? how do the scars affect the mind? and what can be done?
if brian mancini had come to you in the last year of his life, would you have been able to do anything for him? >> perl: no, i don't think so. i don't think so. we're not there yet. we have a lot of people now beginning to take it seriously and begin work on it. it's not just us in our lab. it's really been a game changer in terms of our approach to this problem. >> pelley: dr. perl is now searching for preserved brains of world war i veterans to see if the scarring dates to the beginning of widespread use of high explosives in war. brian mancini's life was devoted to wounded warriors, first as an army medic, then in rehabilitation. and now, even in death, his work to heal continues. and this is what brian would've wanted? >> michael mancini: oh, absolutely. >> nichole mancini: without a doubt. >> pelley: brian is still serving his country. >> michael mancini: amen. >> brian mancini: i wouldn't trade any of these horrendous and horrific experiences for anything.
there's a lesson in everything that we endure in life, and if we can clear all the chaos away and all the heartache away, we can receive that lesson. "why was i here? what was this for? why did this happen?" and kind of get some of those answers. and i think that helps in healing long-term. ( ticking ) today, we're out here with some surprising facts about type 2 diabetes. so you have type 2 diabetes, right? yeah. yes i do. okay so you diet, you exercise, you manage your a1c? that's the plan. what about your heart? what do you mean my heart? the truth is, type 2 diabetes can make you twice as likely to die from a cardiovascular event, like a heart attack or stroke. and with heart disease, your risk is even higher. but wait, there's good news for adults who have type 2 diabetes and heart disease. jardiance is the only type 2 diabetes pill with a lifesaving cardiovascular benefit. jardiance is proven to both significantly reduce the chance
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alright, how ya doing? welcome! so, this is the all-new chevy traverse. what do ya think? this looks better than 99% of the suvs out there. it's very modern...sleek. maybe the most impressive part of the all-new traverse... is what's on the inside. (gasp!) surprise! what are you doing here? i've missed you guys! i haven't seen you guys in so long! (gasp) what's happening?! we flew her out. it's a family car, we had to put your family in it! yeah, it gets 7 thumbs up! >> williams: you'd be hard- pressed to find a more accomplished musician than daniel barenboim, a celebrated conductor and distinguished concert pianist who grew up in israel and, for the last seven decades, has been performing with the great orchestras of the
world. for many maestros, all that would be enough. not for barenboim. at 75, he's still at it, and he's embarked on a second act-- starting his own orchestra for young musicians from israel and the muslim world, and taking on a subject that's as contentious as it gets, the conflict in the middle east. his work has earned him palestinian citizenship and charges of treachery from some of his fellow israelis. but as we found out, controversy hasn't slowed barenboim down. he seems to thrive on it. ♪ ♪ of all the orchestras daniel barenboim leads around the world, this might be the one that moves him the most.
some of the young musicians on stage at this summer concert in berlin are iranian, syrian, palestinian. others are israelis, all playing in perfect harmony even as their --even as their governments threaten to destroy one another. it's called the west-eastern divan orchestra. ♪ ♪ is it surprising, really, that if you bring very good arab musicians and very good israeli musicians together, that they play together? they make... >> barenboim: of course it is. surprising because from the education and where they come from, they are taught the other is a monster. >> williams: it was an idea he hatched 20 years ago with his
friend, the late palestinian scholar edward said, to find young musicians from across the middle east, bringing them together for two months out of the year, and giving them an opportunity to play on the world's most prestigious stages. some of the musicians here risk punishment from their governments for performing with israelis. others are living in exile. nadim husni is a violist from damascus, syria. he hasn't been back to see his parents for eight years. >> husni: whenever my phone rings, you know, i'm every day waiting for some bad news about my parents. i have no idea who's calling and why. >> williams: that's because swathes of his country have been leveled in a seven-year civil war. israel still remains syria's greatest foreign enemy. had you ever met an israeli before that? >> husni: no. no, no, no, never. i had no idea what to expect, how to talk to these people, you understand? they were just foreign creatures.
( laughs ) >> williams: coming face to face with the enemy is the whole point of the divan. >> barenboim: "ba-di-ya, yum, pum." you play, "da-di-da, yum, pum." >> williams: but barenboim has no illusions about what he can accomplish. >> barenboim: the orchestra has been very often described as an orchestra for peace. of course, it isn't an orchestra for peace. this orchestra is not going to bring peace. >> williams: then why do it? >> barenboim: because in the orchestra, we have equality. so, when you create a situation in which there is a palestinian clarinet player who has a difficult solo, and you have the whole orchestra wishing him well and accompanying him, is the only place where a group that includes so many israelis wishes the palestinian well, and vice versa. >> williams: except, of course, the middle east is not an orchestra. people there are not musical instruments. they're not even musicians. and there is no conductor there
to tell them what to do. >> barenboim: i know. i know. but this... i am a conductor. i'm not a politician. i'm a conductor, and therefore i do what i feel i can do. ♪ ♪ >> williams: there's not much barenboim hasn't done in the 70 years since he made his concert debut as a child prodigy in argentina. at the age of ten, his family moved to israel, and soon after he started conducting. he's been classical music royalty ever since. ♪ ♪ when "60 minutes" first met daniel barenboim 20 years ago, correspondent bob simon found that he was a maestro in perpetual motion. >> simon: i've been following you around for almost a week now. i'm exhausted. >> barenboim: yeah, you look tired. ( laughter )
>> simon: and anyone who spends a week with daniel barenboim will discover that he's not only a musical genius, but a 56-year- old child. ♪ ♪ >> williams: at 75, this older barenboim is a more sober character than he used to be, more political. he's still giving recitals as a concert pianist, and he has his day job as music director of the state opera in berlin. but recently, he also opened the barenboim-said academy, a conservatory built in this redesigned warehouse in downtown berlin which, just like his orchestra, the divan, brings together students from israel and across the middle east. >> sadra fayyaz: maestro talked about it in the diversity. >> williams: violist sadra fayyaz studies at the academy and plays in the divan. he's from iran, a sworn enemy of israel.
as a kid, he grew up buying black market videos of barenboim's concerts. >> fayyaz: and then, we watch them until we know every gesture by heart. so, we just... when we have them, we are so happy because it's even not in our imagination that some day actually we are going to meet them. we cannot even see them in concert. >> williams: and so, you grew up in iran... >> fayyaz: yes. >> williams: ...watching dvds and videos of daniel barenboim... >> fayyaz: yes. >> williams: ...an israeli conductor. >> fayyaz: yes. sure. we don't even know that he's israeli. it's all about the music. ( laughs ) ♪ ♪ >> williams: they are accomplished young musicians who get to practice and perform in a new concert hall designed by architect frank gehry. but the music is only part of what barenboim wants them to learn here. do they also discuss politics? do they argue with each other? >> barenboim: oh, yes. yeah. oh, yes. all the time. all the time. and they should. and i don't expect them to agree on the pol... i expect them to agree on the music.
>> williams: are there also love affairs? do some of the israeli players... >> barenboim: i'm not supposed to know about that. >> williams: i'm sure you do, though. ( laughs ) did... does it happen? >> barenboim: it must be very exciting to fall in love with the enemy. you should try it maybe one day. ( laughs ) ♪ ♪ >> williams: there's chemistry in the rehearsal rooms, too. just listen to this ensemble. ♪ ♪ that's sadra the iranian violist; a palestinian violinist; and an israeli on clarinet, miri saadon. what's it like as a musician, as an israeli musician, playing alongside arab musicians or iranian musicians? >> miri saadon: i mean,
sometimes i have this moment of... of, like, "oh, my god, we are palestinian and iranian and me." and just sometimes i remember that, you know, each of us is from such a different background. but we are actually, a lot of things, very similar. ♪ ♪ >> williams: last summer, barenboim took us to a fault line in the middle east conflict, the palestinian city of ramallah on the israeli- occupied west bank, where he has another musical project. it's just a few miles from jerusalem, but sealed off behind a long security wall that snakes its way across the palestinian countryside. >> barenboim: the occupation is horrific for the palestinians, but it's not good for israel. >> williams: those can be provocative words in israel, but barenboim goes even further. after years trying to build bridges here, he says the wall only serves to deceive. i mean, this makes many israelis feel safe in their own homes. >> barenboim: but they're not.
they're not. >> williams: so, it's a lie? >> barenboim: well, i wouldn't say it's a lie. it's a make-believe. it's a make-believe. israel will have full security when there is justice for the palestinians. ♪ ♪ >> williams: he's opened a music school in ramallah which draws kids from cities, towns and villages in the west bank. many of them wouldn't normally have access to classical music. ♪ ♪ it's a demanding program which brings in professional musicians from all over europe to teach around 100 kids. ♪ ♪ natalie's nine and sana's 11.
they've been studying here for more than two years. what's your favorite piece of music to play? >> girls: "in the hall of the mountain king." >> williams: "in the hall of the mountain king." ( playing "in the hall of the mountain king" ) what does it make you think of? does it sound a bit sort of magical like it's from a far away place? >> girls: yeah. >> williams: for many of the kids in barenboim's school, that's exactly where music takes them, to a faraway place. katia is a 17-year-old palestinian. she's been studying for ten years, and practices three to four hours a day. ♪ ♪ how do you feel when you pick up your violin and start playing? >> katia: i... i feel relaxed. i feel like i'm safe now, and i... i can do whatever i want. i think music takes me into another world, and i can do whatever i want there, with no
one controlling me. >> williams: but not even a conservatory for children is immune to the rancor of this region, especially when someone like barenboim is involved. there are some palestinians who object to it simply because you are an israeli. >> barenboim: yeah, and they call this "normalization." in other words, we palestinians suffer under israeli occupation, and therefore we want no contact with israelis. >> williams: i mean, on the other side, there are israelis who say, "why are you devoting your time and resources to the palestinians?" >> barenboim: but, maybe those israelis and those palestinians should get together. i think i have more or less equal proportion of admirers and detractors, both in israel and in palestine. so, something of what i do must be right. >> williams: perhaps. but when barenboim accepted palestinian citizenship ten years ago, some israelis considered it treachery.
it sounds as if you quite enjoy angering people. >> barenboim: no. >> williams: you quite enjoy being controversial. >> barenboim: not at all. not at all. i couldn't care not at all. i couldn't care less. i do... really, i have... if i am happy about something, is that i have arrived at this stage where i can do what i feel is right. ♪ ♪ >> williams: the kids in ramallah rarely have the opportunity to play for barenboim in person. some of the younger ones weren't even totally sure who he was. but barenboim demanded as much from these minor maestros in the making as he would from any other musician who shares his stage. >> barenboim: you can't play "ya-ta-ta-ta-tum" because you have to play another down bow. >> williams: for some of the older ones, there was an even bigger opportunity. barenboim had flown in members of the divan orchestra to perform alongside the kids and their teachers.
parents, grandparents and local dignitaries turned out for a rare event in ramallah, a classical concert featuring their very own taking the stage with a legend. barenboim couldn't pass up an opportunity to speak his mind. >> barenboim: jewish blood runs through my veins, and my heart bleeds for the palestinian cause. >> williams: but the night belonged to the kids, and to the music-- mozart-- which spoke for itself. ♪ ♪ ( cheers and applause ) ( ticking ) >> see bob simon's orignial 1998 story with daniel barenboim at 60minutesovertime.com sponsored by lyrica.
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( ticking ) >> whitaker: you've heard of pompeii, the ancient roman city destroyed when mt. vesuvius erupted in 79 a.d. less well-known is the neighboring city of herculaneum, also buried by the volcano. when the city was rediscovered in the 1700s, excavators found what could be the richest repository of ancient western wisdom-- a library filled with papyrus scrolls. scholars think there could be unknown greek and latin masterpieces, possibly early
christian writings, even the first references to jesus. the problem is, the volcanic heat left the scrolls so charred and brittle, no one has been able to open them without breaking them into pieces. we heard three scholars might finally have found a way to unravel the mystery of the scrolls, so we traveled to italy to see what we could uncover about the scrolls of herculaneum. the italian city of ercolano sits along the bay of naples on the western slope of mt. vesuvius. the city bustles with the chaos of italian traffic and the easy flow of italian life. it's not a wealthy place, but beneath these narrow streets lies buried treasure: the ancient roman seaside town of herculaneum, entombed along with pompeii in 79 a.d. the modern city is built on top
of the ancient city. >> andrew wallace hadrill: there's no archeological site in the world that matches this. >> whitaker: we went to herculaneum with andrew wallace hadrill, founding director of the herculaneum conservation project. he showed us around the excavation site in all its ghostly grandeur. what do you think is going on here? were they trying to escape? were they hiding? >> hadrill: in my view, they're not trying to get away by sea; they're simply trying to take shelter under these vaults. >> whitaker: vesuvius blasted the town with successive, massive surges of heat and ash for 24 hours. >> hadrill: those surges, they kill all human life and all other forms of life. and then, wave after wave, they begin to build up these layers of ash that compacts into rock. >> whitaker: until we have this? >> hadrill: yeah. >> whitaker: 80 feet of? >> hadrill: 80 feet of solid rock. >> whitaker: that ended up
preserving this place so well? >> hadrill: yeah. the paradox is that catastrophic exceptnally good preservation. >> whitaker: preserving herculaneum like a fossil in amber-- everything frozen in time, forgotten for nearly 17 centuries until, legend has it, a farmer digging a well struck the past. >> hadrill: they've built a really big public building here. >> whitaker: hadrill told us herculaneum was like the malibu of the roman empire, oasis for the elite. early excavators discovered this once-opulent villa. today, it looks like a cave. in 79 a.d., it looked like this. the getty villa in malibu, california, is a recreation of the summer retreat thought to belong to the family of julius caesar. tunneling around in the ancient villa in italy, early treasure
hunters dug out statues and riches enough to fill a grand room in the naples museum. but the greatest treasures don't look valuable at all. these are the papyrus scrolls of herculaneum, 1,800 ancient books written on sheets of plant fiber, flash-seared by the volcanic heat, found in the only remaining intact library from the ancient world. so, where was the library? >> massimo osanna: the library was there. >> whitaker: the precarious villa excavation site is off limits to the public. but massimo osanna, former administrator of herculaneum and pompeii, took us deep inside. the library itself has not been excavated like this? >> osanna: no. >> whitaker: he said there could be hundreds more scrolls yet to be unearthed. back in here, in the library? >> osanna: it's a possibility. maybe aristotle. who knows?
>> whitaker: aristotle? >> osanna: yeah. >> whitaker: euripides? >> osanna: yeah. >> whitaker: virgil? >> osanna: for example. >> whitaker: scholars have been trying desperately to open the scrolls since they were discovered. >> brent seales: the history of the unwrapping of the herculaneum scrolls is littered with failures. everyone who had tried to open the scrolls had left behind a hideous trail of fragmentary result. >> whitaker: brent seales, a brash computer scientist from the new world-- the university of kentucky, to be precise-- had what he thought was a brilliant idea to solve the 2,000 year-old mystery: use modern medical imaging technology. >> seales: people were going to the doctor every day, and they were doing a c.t. scan or an m.r.i., and they were seeing inside their body completely non-invasively. if you can do that to a human in the doctor's office, why couldn't we see inside a scroll? that was the thinking. >> whitaker: didn't think it was that farfetched? >> seales: no. >> whitaker: in the arcane world
where academics spend their entire careers poring over fragments of ancient texts, brent seales is a superstar. he made his name digitally restoring damaged medieval manuscripts with software he'd designed. a colleague told him about the scrolls of herculaneum, most housed at the library of naples, a few others in france and england. he considered them the ultimate challenge. >> seales: the people are gone. the cultures are gone. the places are gone. and yet, like a time capsule, you have this item that tells a story. >> whitaker: all locked away in that thing that looks like a little lump of charcoal. >> seales: they're all locked away. >> whitaker: he knew imaging technology could only reveal a jumble of letters like this. to actually read the scrolls, he'd have to unroll them-- much like this medieval french scroll at the morgan library in manhattan-- but he'd have to do this virtually.
after years of trial and error, he and his students thought they'd cracked the code with algorithms and software. he was cocky enough to announce at oxford to an international conference of scholars who study ancient papyrus that he could do what no one else had done. >> seales: i swung for the fence. i gave them a talk where i said, "i think we can read everything inside the herculaneum scrolls without opening them." >> whitaker: did you think the papyrologists would come running to you with their scrolls and say, "here, here, take a look at these?" >> seales: i smile now because that is exactly what i thought. >> whitaker: didn't happen. >> seales: no. >> whitaker: so, how hard is it to get your hands on these scrolls? >> seales: i would say somewhere in the vicinity of nigh near impossible. >> whitaker: that's because they're so rare and so fragile, curators are reluctant to let anyone handle them, including a superstar like brent seales. they wouldn't relent even after he published a paper theorizing
a better way to peer inside the scrolls, with this: a synchrotron, a super powerful x-ray generated by electrons racing around this ring at almost the speed of light. there are only about 50 in the world. this one is in britain. the x-ray is this green beam, 100 billion times stronger than any hospital x-ray. maybe it's coincidence, but shortly after seales published his pioneering paper... >> vito mocello: just to give you an idea. >> whitaker: ...two italian scholars stepped forward and claimed they'd had the same idea to use a synchrotron. vito mocella, a physicist from naples, says he first learned about the scrolls as a child. >> mocella: i cannot remember exactly the age, but nine, ten. >> warner: and graziano ranocchia, a papyrologist. he studies ancient roman papyrus. he pores over bits of
herculaneum scrolls at the naples library. most are fragments of greek philosophy. >> ranocchia: i am coming here and working on these papyri every day. >> whitaker: call it academic competition, call it ego, but american brent seales, ranocchia the papyrologist and italian physicist mocella became fierce competitors, all fighting to make history as the first to reveal the contents of the scrolls-- a gladiatorial wrestling match in the hallowed halls of the ivory tower. ranocchia accuses mocella of sabotaging his research. seales is convinced the italians poached his idea to use the synchrotron. the mystery of the scrolls is playing out like some tragic italian opera. >> seales: you know, they say, bill, that the reason academics argue is because the stakes are so low. right? the stakes actually are really high if you think about the possibility of revealing these
manuscripts to the world from 2,000 years ago that no one's ever read. and, okay, so, now, we're going to argue with each other? really? i mean, maybe we could do that later, after we've read them. >> whitaker: but the two italian rivals used their european connections and convinced curators to let each of them-- and only them-- have limited access to a few scrolls to scan with the synchrotron. they leap-frogged over american brent seales and raced to this one in grenoble, france. mocella got there first. >> mocella: rosallo. >> whitaker: it was hard for us to make out, but he said his scan revealed letters. these are letters? >> mocella: si. queste sono lettere. >> whitaker: "yes," he said, "these are letters." mocella won international praise and headlines as the first person to see inside one of the ancient scrolls of herculaneum. when papyrologist ranocchia
scanned his scrolls, he said he did mocella one better. has anyone else found anything as clear as this? >> ranocchia: nothing like this. >> whitaker: he said he saw phrases. >> ranocchia: "peys theye." namely, "they would be persuaded." this is a... >> whitaker: "would be persuaded." >> ranocchia: yeah, right. >> whitaker: brent seales is not persuaded. >> whitaker: you don't believe that? >> seales: hey, i engage in wishful thinking all the time. but at the end of the day, i'm a scientist, and wishful thinking is... is not what science is based on. i was unable to replicate their results. and so far, i've not heard from anyone who's been able to replicate them. >> whitaker: but with their findings published in scientific journals, the italian scholars savored their achievements. mocella considers brent seales' criticism sour grapes. brent seales looked at your latest findings, and he says he doesn't see any letters. >> mocella: i know. i don't know why.
>> whitaker: you don't know why? >> mocella: i don't know why. >> seales: i guess my threshold is somewhat different. when i see writing, you know, it should line up. it should be more than a letter or two. you ought to be able to see text that looks like something you can actually read. >> whitaker: since he couldn't get access to the herculaneum scrolls, seales looked elsewhere to prove his algorithms and software. that led him to jerusalem and this charred fragment, a 1,700- year-old scroll from a burned synagogue near the dead sea. >> seales: is there a line up here? >> whitaker: israeli archeologists didn't expect much, but what seales' software revealed was like a miracle. what was it? >> seales: well, it was the bible. >> whitaker: he resurrected all the surviving hebrew script, the oldest text of the bible as we know it today. >> seales: the first two chapters of leviticus in a scroll that, prior to that, was assumed to be nothing or so badly damaged no one would ever know.
>> whitaker: this is what you would hope to see in the herculaneum scrolls? >> seales: absolutely. i mean, this is actually an identifiable text. >> whitaker: following his breakthrough in jerusalem, even graziano rannochia admits brent seales' software is brilliant. now, the naples library, which wouldn't let seales get his hands on the scrolls, is considering granting him access. he's convinced the secrets of herculaneum, locked away in the scrolls for 2,000 years, are just within reach. ( ticking ) >> this cbs spores update is brought to you by the lincoln motor company. i'm adam zuker in san antonio texas. in the ncaa men's basketball national semifinals. michigan ended the cinderella run of loyola-chicago. it was the wolverine's 14th straight win. villanova dominated kansas and
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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org not too long ago,name is d. i was an operative in the cia known as agent reinhart. when i left the agency and started teaching, i became professor reinhart. i wrote a book about abnormal behavior and criminals, which was so successful a serial killer used it as clues for his murders. that's when the new york police department reached out to me to help catch him. which i did, so they hired me, and i became consultant reinhart. so now i'm working with this woman, detective lizzie needham of the homicide division, catching killers. looks like i need a new name. don't they call you professor psychopath? don't overdo it today, gary. pace yourself. surprise! whoa.