May 23, 2005

The Archimedes I Know Would LOVE The Whole Particle Accelerator Part of the Story

A particle accelerator is being used to reveal the long-lost writings of the Greek mathematician Archimedes, work hidden for centuries after a Christian monk wrote over it in the Middle Ages.

Highly focused X-rays produced at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center were used last week to begin deciphering the parts of the 174-page text that have not yet been revealed. The X-rays cause iron in the hidden ink to glow.

"One of the delightful things is we don't know what it's going to say," said William Noel, head of the Archimedes Palimpsest project at the Walters Art Gallery.

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