And Once Again, Archimedes
Archimedes’ secret on the goat hide.
Jean-Paul Delahaye, 1999
In 2005, media all over the world reported a sensation: Sheets of the oldest preserved copy of an Archimedes text from the 10th century AD were investigated in the Stanford linear accelerator. During the investigation, X-rays brought to light texts and diagrams of a hitherto unknown work – “The Method”. Until then, only references had remained of the original treatises of the mathematical genius from classical antiquity. The manuscript had been overwritten in the 13th century because books were re-used in the middle ages – parchment made from goat leather was expensive. Such overwritten texts from classical antiquity or the middle ages whose original text had been scraped off or washed off are called palimpsests.
How can the mathematical properties of curvilinear figures and bodies be determined? “The Method” contributes even more to answering this pivotal Greek question than had been expected until its discovery. It is a great step towards understanding the mathematically infinite.