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Eureka! Hidden Text Revealed by Particle Accelerator

Posted by geeknews at 7:01 PM on May 21, 2005

Eureka! Hidden Text Revealed by Particle Accelerator
The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center has used a particle accelerator to create a highly-focused X-ray generator that is able to display hidden text that was authored by Archimedes, the Greek mathematician-scientist who was born in Syracuse in 287 BC.


About 1000 AD, the Archimedes treatises were scribed onto parchment; however, about 200 years later, the text and diagrams were erased to allow the valuable writing material to be reused. Christian prayers, written in Greek, were scribed over Archimedes’ words, creating a palimpsest, a reused parchment. The prayer book was used in religious study for seven hundred years, until Danish philologist John Ludvig Heiberg discovered the palimpsest in the library of The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Istanbul. It was Heiberg who recognized that the document was a palimpsest and contained text and diagrams that were authored by Archimedes.

Stanford’s accelerator is able to detect tiny amounts of iron in the erased ink by using x-rays so cause the iron to fluoresce, to glow. Most of the text was revealed by scientists at Johns Hopkins University and the Rochester Institute of Technology, using digital cameras and ultraviolet or infrared filters, the accelerator will help to fill in the missing parts. This palimpsest contains the only copy of Archimedes’ treatise, “Method of Mechanical Theorems,” which describes how the mathematician used mechanical means to develop his theorems, and the only original Greek version of the treatise “On Floating Bodies,” in which Archimedes addresses the physics related to flotation and gravity.

Dave’s Opinion
All I can say is Eureka!

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