Ancient Writings Revealed! Exploratorium
Ancient ideas meet modern science at the Exploratorium  on August 4, 2006. Using state-of-the-art scientific tools, once hidden writings by the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes will be uncovered, revealing evidence of science not seen for centuries.
Watch the live webcast!
About the Document
Archimedes is considered to be the most important mathematician and engineer of ancient Greece; his work remains pivotal to our understanding of science and math today. Some of his ideas were lost to history until 1906, when a Danish professor found and identified a previously unknown Archimedes manuscript. It had been turned into a prayer book, handwritten in the Middle Ages by a monk, who had scraped away and written over Archimedes’s work. Lost again, altered, then found, the Archimedes manuscript is currently conserved at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.  Now, using modern scientific tools at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL), parts of the original Archimedes text will be uncovered for the first time in a thousand years. At SSRL, an intense X-ray, produced in a particle accelerator, will be scanned across a page of the document, causing the iron in the original ink to glow, or fluoresce. A detector will record the fluorescent glow, producing a digital image of the original letters and diagrams in the 1000-year-old manuscript onto a computer screen. This scan, made at Stanford, will be transmitted simultaneously to the Exploratorium.  Join us for a live Webcast, at the Exploratorium or online, as the tools of modern science uncover lines of this fascinating ancient document, and experts help us decipher and understand what we see.
Reading Ancient Texts
About our Guests
Peering into the Mind of Archimedes