Author(s): Reviel Netz
Revealing the Secrets of the World's Greatest Palimpsest
Drawings and writings by Archimedes, previously thought to have been destroyed, have been uncovered beneath the pages of a 13th-century monks prayer book. These hidden texts, slowly being retrieved and deciphered by scientists, show that Archimedes thinking (2,200 years ago) was even ahead of Isaac Newton in the 17th century. Archimedes discovered the value of Pi, he developed the theory of specific gravity and made steps towards the development of calculus. Everything we know about him comes from three manuscripts, two of which have disappeared. The third, currently in the Walters Art Museum, is a palimpsest - the text has been scraped off, the book taken apart and its parchment re-used, in this case as a prayer book.
William Noel, the project director, and Reviel Netz, a historian of ancient mathematics, tell the enthralling story of the survival of that prayer book from 1229 to the present, and examine the process of recovering the invaluable text underneath as well as investigating into why that text is so important.
A gripping literary detective story The revelations change the history of science and mathematics Publication to tie in with a major international exhibition of the discovered texts Guaranteed huge media coverage - already started
Reviel Netz is Professor of Ancient Science at Stanford University, a leading authority on Archimedes, and editor of the Archimedes Palimpsest. William Noel is Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at the Walters Art Museum and Director of the Archimedes Palimpsest Project. William Noel is Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at the Walters Art Museum and Director of the Archimedes Palimpsest Project.