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The Archimedes Codex: Revealing The Secrets Of The World's Greatest Palimpsest

Reviel Netz, William Noel

2 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, History: specific events & topics

The story of the amazing discovery of Archimedes' lost works

Drawings and writings by Archimedes, previously thought to have been destroyed, have been uncovered beneath the pages of a 13th-century monk's 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.

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Praise for The Archimedes Codex: Revealing The Secrets Of The World's Greatest Palimpsest

  • The authors are fortunate to be involved in such a great project and they ahve done an excellent job in the writing of this book - BRITISH SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF MATHEMATICS

  • A heroic account, of mathematics, and science. - ANGLO-HELLENIC REVIEW

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Reviel Netz

Reviel Netz is Professor of Ancient Science at Stanford University, a leading authority on Archimedes, and editor of the Archimedes Palimpsest.