Monday, May 4, 2009

Archimedes Rules!!! Woo!!!

Imported from Mathimoto's Complaint (a failed blogging venture that nonetheless produced some good work):
I'm not a Hellenophile, I have a good taste for the Classics mind you, but I'm not one of those who say the Greeks invented everything. With Math, for example, despite the immense Greek influence (often not done by actual Greeks but by Egyptians or Syrians who spoke Greek), but India, Arabia, and China also had a huge impact on the history of Math. And yet, there is one Greek, who's outstanding enough that I can never get tired of hearing about him.


So we have a man who created ancient war machines that matched even the Romans for years. Yet despite the mountains of gold that earned him, the war machines were a distraction. His love was Math. Pure Math. And it was there he performed miracles. Mechanics of Floating Objects. Combinatric speculation. Areas of curves and spheres. And the number of grains of sands that it would take to fill up the universe.

He was so high up the math ladder he had to invent his own number system. He dabbled with the basics of integral calculus and said that they weren't rigorous enough for him.

And the man doesn't stop giving. The Archimedes Palimpsest, the best collection of Archimedes writings despite being buried under layers of rewritten parchment, has never been in the best condition, having been mold encrusted, painted over, and scraped apart. Yet with a little patience, a little hard work, and some ultra-fancy X-rays, the Palimpsest is still giving up new texts by, about, or unrelated to Archimedes. As late as April 2007, a new commentary about Archimedes was discovered.

Check out more info about the Archimedes Palimpsest.

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