Archimedes Palimpsest

From HASTRO-L comes news of the live unveiling of the Archimedes Palimpsest at 4pm PST on August 4, which is midnight onwards GMT, or 1am BST. The press-kit states “Join us at the Exploratorium or online as we watch ancient text revealed and read for the first time in a thousand years!“, which makes them much more honest than me. I’d have made sure my panel of experts knew exactly what was going to be revealed so they could coo appreciatively and say something useful to the webcam.

It also adds useful information about what a palimpsest is. “His thoughts were inscribed on goatskin parchment, but the letters and diagrams were scraped off and written over by Greek monks in the Middle Ages.” This sort of thing was usual in the middle-ages, so a lot of ancient texts have been lost. The reason we can read this one is that high-tech imaging equipment is allowing to peek at what was originally on the parchment. Archimedes’ work is the most famous material found, but the book appears to have leaves from other older texts too.

The material found could potentially cast knew light on how the Greeks practiced mathematics and prove a few pet theories completely wrong.

There’s an hour long video on Google with more information.

You can download the video from Google.

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