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Fwd: The Archimedes Palimpsest
I can't resist forwarding this piece of mail from another mailing list.
What does this MS have that the Voynich MS doesn't...
(apart from being written in the 3rd C BC by one of the most
important scientists in human history)?
A TIME CAPSULE FROM ARCHIMEDES is how historian
Reviel Netz describes a tenth century manuscript bearing seven
different works composed by Archimedes in the third century
BCE. The manuscript, referred to as the "Archimedes Palimpsest"
(from the Greek word for rescraped, since the parchment was
partially scraped clean and then overwritten in the twelfth century
with a number of prayers), rested in obscurity for centuries until
1906 when a scholar recognized the underlying text and
geometrical drawings as being by Archimedes. The parchment
quickly disappeared again, only to show up at auction in 1998.
The purchaser, who remains anonymous, is now making the
manuscript available for study. Of the seven different texts,
several (such as Archimedes' treatises on buoyancy and on centers
of gravity in planes) exist in other manuscripts, but in the case of
two of the works, this manuscript represents the sole source. And
one of these, a treatise called "Method," sets forth Archimedes'
approach to using mathematical principles in solving physics
problems and vice versa. For this reason, and because the
Palimpsest "is, by a long stretch, the earliest evidence we have for
Archimedes," Mr. Netz believes this is the most important
manuscript associated with the man whom many regard at the most
important scientist of antiquity.
(Article by Netz in Physics Today, June 2000.)
Web site URL on the palimpsest: