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Radioscience Seminars

EE 350 Radioscience Seminar
Professor Umran S. Inan
Winter 2002-2003

Date: Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Time: 4:15 PM – Refreshments at 4:00
New Location: Packard #101

Vital New Information from Archimedes
Dr. John Cladis
Consultant, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center

Archimedes (287 – 212 BC) has long been considered to be the most brilliant mathematician, physicist and engineer of antiquity – and among the best mathematicians in all our history. But, what is this: was he also the originator of a type of calculus? Yes, according to a treatise in a 10th century palimpsest which was found recently. A palimpsest is a book in which the original written material (Archimedes’ text in this case) was scraped from the parchment and overwritten. Fortunately, the ink used by the scribe who copied the Archimedes’ text was so good that it could not be entirely erased. Among the seven valuable treatises included in the palimpsest were Method of Mechanical Theorems, which was referred to in the ancient literature but never found, and On Floating Bodies, which in the original Greek, had been lost for over 1000 years. In the Method of Mechanical Theorems, mathematicians were greatly surprise to find that Archimedes used a form of integral calculus to determine the areas and volumes of complex two- and three-dimensional bodies. What a pity that this treatise, as well as others, were not available to budding European mathematicians and physicists before the renaissance period!

In this seminar the journey of the palimpsest will be traced, and some of the remarkable accomplishments of this man will be discussed.