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ARCHIMEDES Revealed

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Bianca
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« on: May 21, 2007, 08:42:37 am »


 


 
« Last Edit: May 21, 2007, 09:21:15 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 09:01:30 am »


From: www.latimes.com



13th century text hides words of Archimedes



The pages of a medieval prayer text also contain words of ancient Greek engineer Archimedes. It takes high-tech imaging to read between the lines.


By Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writer



December 26, 2006


 
Eureka!
 
 

THE book cost $2 million at auction, but large sections are unreadable.

Some of its 348 pages are torn or missing and others are covered with sprawling purple patches of mildew. Sooty edges and water stains indicate a close escape from a fire.

"This manuscript is, by far, the worst of any manuscript I've ever seen," said William Noel, curator of manuscripts for the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, where it now resides. "It's a book that is on its last legs."

The sheepskin parchment originally contained a 10th century Greek text, which was erased by a 13th century scribe who replaced it with prayers. Seven hundred years later, a forger painted gilded pictures of the Evangelists on top of the faded words.

Underneath it all, however, is an exceptional treasure — the oldest surviving copy of works by the ancient Greek mathematician and engineer Archimedes of Syracuse, who lived in the 3rd century BC.

About 80% of the text had been transcribed and translated in the 1910s after it was rediscovered in an Istanbul monastery, but since then much of it became unreadable again because of deterioration.

Fully deciphering its mysteries has had to wait for advanced technologies, some of which had never been applied to ancient manuscripts.

The unusual cast of detectives includes not only the imaging specialists who helped photograph the Dead Sea Scrolls, but also a Stanford University physicist who studies trace metals in spinach with a particle accelerator.

Together, they have been carrying out one of the most remarkable "salvage jobs" in the history of codicology, the study of ancient manuscripts.

Archimedes, it turns out, is only one secret of the text.

AMONG the mathematicians of antiquity, Archimedes was one of the greatest and most cunning.

He was one of the earliest to devise ways to calculate the area beneath curves and was the first to prove that a circle's circumference and diameter are related by the constant pi. He developed the Archimedes Screw to lift water and invented deadly devices, such as the Claw of Archimedes, which was designed to grapple enemy warships.

Archimedes died in 212 BC, when Syracuse was sacked by the Romans. Legend holds that he was drawing figures in the sand. "Don't disturb my circles," he supposedly told the soldier who killed him.

Knowledge of Archimedes' work is derived from three books.

Codex A, transcribed around the 9th century, contained seven major treatises in Greek. Codex B, created around the same time, had at least one additional work by Archimedes and survived only in Latin translation.

Codex C has been an enigma.

It was originally copied down in 10th century Constantinople, now known as Istanbul. Three centuries later, the manuscript was in Palestine. By then, it was no longer a precious vestige of ancient learning but an obscure text that could be put to better use as a prayer book.

A scribe began by unbinding the pages. He washed them with citrus juice or milk and sanded them with a pumice stone. He cut the sheets in half, turned them 90 degrees and stitched the new book down the middle.

The scribe wrote prayers over the blank pages. Codex C had become a "palimpsest" — a recycled book.

The book eventually was brought back to Constantinople, where it sat until the 1890s, when a Greek scholar wrote down a fragment of erased text that he was able to read.



 
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2007, 09:14:34 am »




Page 2 of 4 


 
Eureka!
 
 

That fragment was brought to the attention of Danish philologist Johan Ludvig Heiberg in 1906, then the foremost authority on Archimedes. Armed with a magnifying glass, he translated everything he could read, publishing his work in 1910.

The palimpsest disappeared amid the chaos of World War I, only resurfacing in 1998, when a French family named Guersan offered it for auction at Christie's in New York. An anonymous book collector paid $2 million and deposited it at the Walters Art Museum for conservation.

Mold had attacked much of the manuscript, and four forged paintings of the Evangelists made in the 20th century covered some of its most important pages.

"That was our worst nightmare," said Abigail Quandt, senior conservator of rare books and manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum.

ROGER L. Easton Jr., a 56-year-old imaging specialist at the Rochester Institute of Technology, had just come off his success revealing hidden text in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Christie's had commissioned him to make ultraviolet images of the palimpsest for the auction catalog, and now he offered his help to the museum.

Easton and his colleagues began their work in 2000. They tinkered with different methods for capturing the image with the ultraviolet light, which makes the parchment glow more whitish.

They then merged those images with another set taken under a tungsten light, which enhanced the reddish hue of the Archimedes text. The resulting "pseudocolor" image made it easier to distinguish the black prayer book writing from the burnt sienna words of Archimedes.

Using this painstaking method, Easton and his team took two years to uncover another 15% of the text.

They were stymied in penetrating the rest.

Two more years passed before Stanford physicist Uwe Bergmann, 43, read a magazine article about the Archimedes palimpsest that mentioned it had originally been written with iron gall ink.

One of Bergmann's projects at Stanford was investigating the process of photosynthesis in plants by using the synchrotron X-rays to image small clusters of manganese atoms in spinach.

"Why not find traces of iron in an ancient book?" he asked.

Bergmann sent an e-mail to the Walters Art Museum, and the museum agreed to a test.

Bergmann set up the palimpsest experiment at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. Spread over an area the size of a football field, the synchrotron is part of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, a Department of Energy facility set in the foothills of Menlo Park.

The synchrotron hurls electrons at near light speed, forcing them to give off X-rays as they veer around bends. That X-ray beam is channeled away into the laboratories.

Bergmann figured the powerful and precise beam could be used to make iron molecules fluoresce, thus allowing him with a sensitive-enough detector to pick up even the faintest traces of ink.

Bergmann first had to determine the exposure time. Too much time and the powerful synchrotron X-ray could damage the parchment. Then, they adjusted the intensity of the beam, which could be so strong that it blinded the detectors that picked up the glow from the iron gall ink.

After two years of refining their technique, Bergmann and his colleagues began the laborious process of imaging the palimpsest this summer.

Each side of a page, mounted in frame that moved in front of the beam, took 12 hours to record. The machines processed the pages continuously for two weeks.
 
 
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2007, 09:17:20 am »




Page 3 of 4  


 
Eureka

 

Beneath a moldy, torn painting of St. John emerged two layers of writing.

On the edge of the first page, they saw a signature dated April 14, 1229: "By the hand of presbyter Ioannes Myronas."

It was the name of the priest who had erased Archimedes.

IN an office near Memorial Church at Stanford, Reviel Netz flicked off the lights. Netz, a slight 38-year-old with dark hair, leaned close to the screen of his laptop.

Bergmann's X-ray work had produced a black-and-white picture of a page from "The Method of Mechanical Theorems," a text found only in the palimpsest.

One phrase — "let them be arranged so they balance on point theta" — had already been translated by Heiberg, although he had had to guess about the word "on," which was unreadable.

Netz, a professor of classics, looked at the X-ray image and nodded. He smiled.

The actual word was "around."

"That's not trivial," he said, explaining that the change altered the meaning of Archimedes' calculations involving an object's center of gravity.

The X-ray image also revealed a section of "The Method" that had been hidden from Heiberg in the fold between pages. It contained part of a discussion on how to calculate the area inside a parabola using a new way of thinking about infinity, Netz said. It appeared to be an early attempt at calculus — nearly 2,000 years before Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz invented the field.

The discoveries may seem small, but they are significant in the understanding of ancient mathematics, Netz said.

One passage he studied several years ago involved the innumerable slices and lines that could be made from a triangular prism similar to a wedge of cheese. Netz said the passage, which was unreadable to Heiberg, showed that Archimedes was grappling with the concept of infinity long before other mathematicians.

For Netz, a specialist in ancient mathematics and cognitive history, the chance to decipher the palimpsest "is the fulfillment of an incredible dream," he said.

One of his biggest breakthroughs involves a quirky part of the palimpsest called the "Stomachion," which literally means "Belly-Teaser."

Stomachions were children's games in which 14 geometrical shapes were rearranged to create new shapes. Heiberg translated fragments of the manuscript but paid little attention to it, thinking it was just a game.

Netz saw a deeper significance. Archimedes asked a more restricted question in his "Stomachion": How many different ways could you combine the 14 triangles to make a square?

Netz believes the fragments address an area of mathematics known as combinatorics that scholars have only recently believed interested the Greeks.

For all the high-tech efforts, there are still gaps remaining in the Archimedes text, perhaps 2%, Netz guessed.

AMONG the jumbled fragments are clues that perhaps the deepest secrets are yet to be found.

A century ago, Heiberg copied down two lines that he couldn't identify. They began: "The youngest had been abroad for so long that the sisters wouldn't even know who was who."


 
« Last Edit: May 21, 2007, 09:26:45 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2007, 09:20:10 am »




Page 4 of 4       


 
Eureka!





The passage was not Archimedes.

In 2002, scholars were able to cross-reference the quote. It came from "Against Timandros," written by a 4th century BC Athenian orator named Hyperides.

Although Hyperides is little-known now, contemporaries frequently compared him to Demosthenes, an acknowledged master of oratory.

No complete versions exist of "Against Timandros," which Hyperides had written as part of a lawsuit over an inheritance, said Judson Herrman, a classicist at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.

Further study determined there were 20 pages of Hyperides in the palimpsest, including a previously unknown text called "Against Diondas."

The palimpsest, it turns out, took parchment from seven texts, including what are believed to be a commentary on Aristotle's "On the Soul" and a group of biographies of the saints, plus two still unidentified texts.

The works are even more difficult to discern than the Archimedes because the ink is different and the pages more thoroughly scrubbed.

"I have been cursing all morning," Herrman said of his work on a few lines of Hyperides.

The scientists aren't giving up.

Easton's team recently began experimenting with precisely tuned light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, to illuminate the text. The team also is using angled light to detect the outlines of letters etched in the parchment by the acid in the ink.

The team made progress on a few pages, but it may take decades — or longer — before technologies are developed that can unveil all the texts.

"We'll probably leave something for future scientists to work on," Netz said.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
jia-rui.chong@latimes.com
   
 
 
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2007, 12:20:28 pm »

Bianca,

Terrific post!   In the last year or so there was a TV program on this "mystery" and I was just rapt!!  Thanks...
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Thus ye may find in thy mental and spiritual self, ye can make thyself just as happy or just as miserable as ye like. How miserable do ye want to be?......For you GROW to heaven, you don't GO to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there.

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Bianca
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2007, 02:36:46 pm »



Gee, Rocky, thanks for the "heads up".  I didn't realize there was a TV
show about it.  Must watch what's being re-run more carefully.

I read about it a while back, but it was just sketchy.  I ran into this
quite by accident, this morning.

One more SIN for "you know who" to add to the rest, eh?

Love and Peace,
B
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Bianca
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2007, 06:35:55 am »








Abigail Quandt of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, places a page of the Archimedes Palimpsest into an x-ray scanner at Stanford University's Linear Accelerator Center on August 4, 2006.

Since 2002 researchers have been using a scanning technique called multispectral imaging to reveal older texts hidden under the words of a medieval Christian prayer book.

The latest scans show commentary likely written in the third century A.D. on a work by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.

Photograph by
Paul Sakuma
/AP


FROM:
National Geographic
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 06:58:18 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 06:59:37 am »










                                  New Layer of Ancient Greek Writings Detected in Medieval Book






Kate Ravilious
National Geographic News
April 26, 2007

At first glance, the manuscript appears to be a medieval Christian prayer book.

But on the same pages as the prayers, experts using a high-tech imaging system have discovered commentary likely written in the third century A.D. on a work written around 350 B.C. by the Greek philosopher Aristotle.

The discovery is the third ancient text to emerge from the layers of writing on the much reused pages. In 2002 researchers had uncovered writings by the mathematician Archimedes and the fourth-century B.C. politician Hyperides.

Last year one of the pages was found to contain a famous work by Archimedes about buoyancy that had previously been known only from an incomplete Latin translation.

Project director William Noel, curator of manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, called the latest discovery a "sensational find."

The findings were presented today at a general meeting of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2009, 07:04:07 am »









Reuse, Recycle



The book, known as the Archimedes Palimpsest, was first analyzed in 1906, when a Danish researcher recognized that it contained works by the ancient mathematician.

In the 10th century a scribe had copied the ancient Greek manuscripts from papyrus scrolls onto parchment—thin leaves of treated animal skin.

Later the writing was washed out using a solvent such as orange juice and overwritten with new text—a process known as palimpsesting.

"In those days, parchment writing materials were so valuable that they were commonly reused when the book was considered out of date or if the subject was judged inappropriate or less valuable," Roger L. Easton, of the Rochester Institute of Technology, wrote in an email.

By the 12th century, pages from five different earlier works had been erased, overwritten, and compiled into a Christian prayer book, the Euchologion—what is now called the Archimedes Palimpsest.
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 07:07:25 am »









In a New Light



Since 2002 scientists have been using a technique known as multispectral imaging to take digital photographs of the book's pages at different wavelengths.

The images enable the researchers to pull hidden words out from behind the religious writings.

"There are seven quite large double-sided leaves of new text. We have deciphered around half of this so far," said Robert Sharples, project team member and a classicist at University College London.

After the Archimedes and Hyperides works were found, the team fine-tuned their multispectral imaging technique.

Revisiting some of the more difficult pages in the book revealed the writings on Aristotle.

"Even though I couldn't read ancient Greek, just the fact that I could see the words gave me shivers," Easton told BBC News.

Experts on ancient Greek texts are currently scouring the newfound work.

Clues, such as a name in the margin, indicate that the writings are an early commentary on Aristotle's Categories, one of the foundations of Western studies of logic.

"If this is the case, then it is an immensely significant find and very exciting," said David Evans, professor of logic and metaphysics at Queens University Belfast in Ireland.

The most likely author of the new find is thought to be Alexander of Aphrodisias.

"He was a philiosopher in his own right and a very important and insightful commentator," Evans said.

Translation of the text so far suggests that it may provide further insight into a debate on Aristotle's theory of classification.

"We have one book that contains three texts from the ancient world that are absolutely central to our understanding of mathematics, politics, and now philosophy," Noel, of the Walters Art Museum, told BBC News.

"I am at a loss for words at what this book has turned out to be. To make these discoveries in the 21st century is frankly nutty—it is just so exciting."



http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070426-aristotle-book.html
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2009, 07:11:45 am »










Three generations of writing cover this page from the Archimedes Palimpsest, a much battered medieval manuscript (right). Under a 20th-century painting are 13th-century prayers. Under the prayers is part of
a text by the scholar Archimedes.

Scientists are using a procedure called x-ray fluorescence—using x-rays from an atom smasher—to uncover the mathematician's lost works (left).



Photographs courtesy the Archimedes Palimpsest Project and the Walters Art Museum, © the owner of the Archimedes Palimpsest




National Geographic News
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 07:16:11 am »









                                    Archimedes' Secrets Revealed by Atom Smasher






Davide Castelvecchi
for National Geographic News
August 3, 2006

Lost works by the ancient scholar Archimedes have been recovered from a much battered medieval manuscript using technology from atom smashers and NASA satellites.

Physicists scanning a book known as the Archimedes Palimpsest today unveiled a new page from the mathematician's On Floating Bodies. Previously, the work was known only from an incomplete Latin translation.

The subject of On Floating Bodies is Archimedes' principle. It says that bodies in a fluid are pushed upward by buoyancy, a force equal to the weight of the fluid they displace.

The discovery of the buoyancy principle is one of the most famous tales of science history.

Archimedes supposedly came up with the principle while taking a bath. Elated, he jumped out and ran naked down the street shouting "Eureka!"—Greek for "I've found it."

The scholar, who lived in Syracuse, Sicily, from 287 B.C. to 212 B.C., also created the Archimedes Screw. The hollow spiral screw designed to move water uphill is still used in some developing countries for irrigation.

New images of pages from Archimedes' Method of Mechanical Theorems were also released by the research team. The treatise outlines a method for computing areas and volumes that was later redeveloped by Isaac Newton.



(Related story: "Europe's Oldest 'Book' Read With High-Tech Imaging" [June 6, 2006].)
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 07:17:14 am »








Eureka Moment



In March researchers led by Uwe Bergmann, a physicist at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, used a technique called x-ray fluorescence to scan the book.

Minute traces of iron were mapped, revealing the presence of lost or faded ink—and thus of text that is almost invisible to the naked eye.

The team employed energetic x-ray beams produced by a ring-shaped, baseball-field-size particle accelerator—a machine originally invented for breaking apart subatomic particles.

"The beam is 10,000 times more intense than a conventional x-ray tube," such as the kind used at hospitals, Bergmann said.

The intensity allows the researchers to scan a page in about 12 hours—about 300 times faster than using an x-ray tube would allow.

The beam touches each spot for less than three milliseconds, keeping radiation exposure far below levels that could damage the parchment, Bergmann says.

Scientists had already reconstructed most of the text from the manuscript using multispectral imaging. This technique—developed for NASA satellite surveys such as Landsat program—overlays images taken at different wavelengths of light, from infrared to visible to ultraviolet.

But up to 20 percent of the text remained inaccessible until Bergmann and his colleague Robert Morton proposed using x-ray fluorescence.
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2009, 07:20:09 am »








Lost and Found



Like most other remaining texts of antiquity, the works of Archimedes survive only thanks to scribes who kept copying them on parchment throughout the Middle Ages.

But parchment was often recycled by "palimpsesting," a blunt washing procedure that left little, if any, of the old text.

In 1906 Danish classicist Johan Ludvig Heiberg discovered a 13th-century prayer book in a library in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey). That book became known as the Archimedes Palimpsest.

Barely readable under the prayers was an older text—a tenth-century copy of ancient Greek texts. Heiberg recognized, painstakingly transcribed, and translated parts of seven works by Archimedes, two of which would have otherwise been lost.

Later, the Palimpsest disappeared, presumably stolen during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Badly damaged by mold and fire, it resurfaced at a New York auction in 1998.

Fake medieval paintings now completely covered four of its pages.

An anonymous collector bought it for two million U.S. dollars, entrusting it to the care of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. The collector has since funded the book's restoration and analysis.

Nigel Wilson, a historian at the University of Oxford in England, says the same technologies used on the Archimedes Palimpsest could shed new light on a number of other palimpsests conserved in libraries around the world.

"There are going to be plenty," Wilson said. A text recently discovered in the Vatican Library, for example, contains previously unknown fragments by the ancient Greek playwright Menander.

It may be some time before historians are able to assess the full importance of the new pages.

Meanwhile, Bergmann's team is performing a third round of imaging, which will end August 7. Slated for scanning are the four painted-over pages.



SOURCES AND RELATED WEB SITES


Exploratorium
Archimedes Palimpsest
Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory
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