Brent Seales's team have made decisive progress with the Diamond Light Source synchrotron scanner near Oxford, for the first time acquiring the masses of data needed to read hundreds of still rolled-up Herculaneum papyri. 30 terabytes of images from already unrolled papyri provide a reference library which will 'teach' the computer how to tell the difference between ink and papyrus. Once the machine has learned how, it can be let loose on a rolled papyrus. The process is expected to take a year. If all goes well, we will then for the first time in 2,000 years be able to read the books of the Villa of the Papyri. The research is written up on p. 3 of The Times for 3 October, where it is also the subject of the third leader. See