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*
**Abstract**
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. |