A Tale of Math Treasure; October 2011; Scientific American Magazine; by Davide Castelvecchi; 1 Page(s)
There is much cheesy lore about the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse: that he popularized the word “eureka”; that he used mirrors to set Roman ships on fire; that a Roman soldier killed him in 212 B.C. while he was tracing diagrams in the sand. Not only is the lore probably untrue, historians say, but it also fails to capture the true significance of his achievements, which spanned mathematics, science and engineering and inspired the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo and Isaac Newton. Some credit him with having essentially invented the basic ideas of calculus.
An exhibit opening in October at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore will showcase a decade-long effort to restore some of his long-lost texts and unearth some of his previously unknown contributions. “Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes” focuses on a parchment book known as the Archimedes Palimpsest.