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Title: Secrets in the Ancient Goatskins: X-Rays Reveal Archimedes' Oldest Writings

Abstract

Archimedes of Syracruse (287 - 212 B.C.) is considered one of the most brilliant thinkers of all time. The tenth-century parchment known as the Archimedes Palimpsest is by far the oldest surviving manuscript containing works of Archimedes. it is also the unique source for three of the Greek's treatises: the Stomachion, the Method of Mechanical Theorems, and the Greek version of On Floating Bodies. The privately owned palimpsest is the subject of a integrated campaign of conservation, imaging, and scholarship being undertaken at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Much of the text has been imaged by various optical techniques, but significant gaps in our knowledge of the writing of Archimedes remained. A breakthrough in uncovering the missing Archimedes writings was achieved at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. Using x-ray fluorescence imaging, writings from faint traces of the partly erased iron gall ink were brought to light. The x-ray image revealed Archimedes writings from some of his most important works covered by twelfth-century biblical texts and twentieth-century gold forgeries. This talk will focus on the fascinating journal of a 1,000 year old parchment from its origin in the Mediterranean city of Constantinople to an x-ray beamline at SLAC.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
ANL-APS (Argonne National Laboratory-Advanced Photon Source (United States))
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
987275
DOE Contract Number:
ACO2-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Multimedia
Resource Relation:
Conference: APS Colloquium Series, Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois (United States), presented on April 02, 2008
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
43 PARTICLE ACCELERATORS; X-RAY; ARCHIMEDES; IMAGING

Citation Formats

Bergmann, Uwe. Secrets in the Ancient Goatskins: X-Rays Reveal Archimedes' Oldest Writings. United States: N. p., 2008. Web.
Bergmann, Uwe. Secrets in the Ancient Goatskins: X-Rays Reveal Archimedes' Oldest Writings. United States.
Bergmann, Uwe. Wed . "Secrets in the Ancient Goatskins: X-Rays Reveal Archimedes' Oldest Writings". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/987275.
@article{osti_987275,
title = {Secrets in the Ancient Goatskins: X-Rays Reveal Archimedes' Oldest Writings},
author = {Bergmann, Uwe},
abstractNote = {Archimedes of Syracruse (287 - 212 B.C.) is considered one of the most brilliant thinkers of all time. The tenth-century parchment known as the Archimedes Palimpsest is by far the oldest surviving manuscript containing works of Archimedes. it is also the unique source for three of the Greek's treatises: the Stomachion, the Method of Mechanical Theorems, and the Greek version of On Floating Bodies. The privately owned palimpsest is the subject of a integrated campaign of conservation, imaging, and scholarship being undertaken at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Much of the text has been imaged by various optical techniques, but significant gaps in our knowledge of the writing of Archimedes remained. A breakthrough in uncovering the missing Archimedes writings was achieved at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. Using x-ray fluorescence imaging, writings from faint traces of the partly erased iron gall ink were brought to light. The x-ray image revealed Archimedes writings from some of his most important works covered by twelfth-century biblical texts and twentieth-century gold forgeries. This talk will focus on the fascinating journal of a 1,000 year old parchment from its origin in the Mediterranean city of Constantinople to an x-ray beamline at SLAC.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2008},
month = {4}
}

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