National expert searches UW library books for DNA and first draf - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

National expert searches UW library books for DNA and first draft clues

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Hidden in dirty old books and Medieval scrolls at UW's Library are stains, cryptic phrases, even possible secret messages that the nation's top imaging expert hopes to uncover.

Right now, researchers are awaiting results on more than a dozen books being combed over to find history's greatest mysteries.

"The University of Wisconsin has such a wealth that can be tapped here," Mike Toth, a multi-spectral imagine expert said.   He was flown in from DC on a trip to the nation's top university's to test their book collections.

Toth uses a special 100 Megapixel camera with every bell and whistle attached to scan and study the books with infrared technology.

He's looking for any stains or bodily fluids, but also a  possible signature on a copy of UW's Newton's Optics. 

"They are going to look at it and see if they can get a name from it," Toth said.

He says his effort involves both the sciences and the arts to pinpoint the past history of many books he's investigated.  Sadly, he says with so many using electronic means to write books or even read them, the clues to his work will one day fade away.

"if you think about it, we create everything don't have that scratched out text that you can't see anymore, so we maybe going to a time that maybe obsolete now," he said.

The UW hopes Toth's findings are wrapped up in the coming months.

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