“Discoveries in The Archimedes Palimpsest
Archimedes, in his treatise The Method of Mechanical Theorems, works with the concept of absolute infinity, and this Palimpsest contains the only surviving copy of this important treatise. He claims that two different sets of lines are equal in multitude, even though it is clearly understood that they are infinite. This approach is remarkably similar to 16th- and 17th-century works leading to the invention of the calculus.
Also found only in the Palimpsest is Archimedes’ Stomachion. It is the earliest existing western treatise concerning combinatorics. It is thought that Archimedes was trying to discover how many ways you could recombine 14 fixed pieces and still make a perfect square. The answer is high and counterintuitive at 17,152 combinations. Combinatorics is critical in modern computing.
In addition to Archimedes’ works, six other erased books of history and philosophy were discovered. Twenty pages of the Palimpsest were created from the erased texts of ten pages from a manuscript containing speeches by Hyperides, an Athenian orator from the golden age of Greek democracy. Twenty-eight pages were from the erased text of 14 pages containing a Commentary on the Categories of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Aristotle’s Categories is a fundamental text to western philosophy. This commentary survives nowhere else.
When the Palimpsest was imaged at SSRL, the name of the scribe that erased Archimedes’ writings was discovered on the first page of the Palimpsest. His name was Johannes Myronas, and he finished transcribing the prayers on April 14, 1229, in Jerusalem.“
via Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes, opening at the Walters Oct. 16, 2011, reveals texts from the ancient world discovered by conserving and imaging The Archimedes Palimpsest.
AN : an arduous task and facinating story and exhibit at The Walters Art Museum in Balimore Maryland,USA. Innovation that goes back to Archimedes time (0212 BC ) and 1229 AD and 1998 AD :
“Archimedes lived in the Greek city of Syracuse in the third century B.C. He was a brilliant mathematician, physicist, inventor, engineer and astronomer. In 10th-century Constantinople (present day Istanbul), an anonymous scribe copied the Archimedes treatise in the original Greek onto parchment. In the 13th century, a monk erased the Archimedes text, cut the pages along the center fold, rotated the leaves 90 degrees and folded them in half. The parchment was then recycled, together with the parchment of other books, to create a Greek Orthodox prayer book. This process is called palimpsesting; the result of the process is a palimpsest.
On Oct. 28, 1998, The Archimedes Palimpsest was purchased at Christie’s by an anonymous collector for two million dollars. It is considered by many to be the most important scientific manuscript ever sold at auction because it contains Archimedes’ erased texts.
“The collector deposited the Palimpsest at the Walters for conservation, imaging, study and exhibition in 1999, but many thought that nothing more could be recovered from this book. It was in horrible condition, having suffered a thousand years of weather, travel and abuse,” said Archimedes Project Director and Walters Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books Will Noel. “Detailed detective work and the serendipitous discovery of important documents and photographs allowed us to reconstruct what happened to the Palimpsest in the 20th century, when it was subject to appalling treatment and overpainted with forgeries. A team of devoted scholars using the latest imaging technology was able to reveal and decipher the original text.”
Before imaging could begin, the manuscript had to be stabilized. Conserving the manuscript took 12 years, including four years just to take the book apart due to the fragile nature of parchment damaged by mold and a spine covered in modern synthetic glue.
“I documented everything and saved all of the tiny pieces from the book, including paint chips, parchment fragments and thread, and put them into sleeves so we knew what pages they came from,” said Abigail Quandt, Walters senior conservator of manuscripts and rare books. “I stabilized the flaking ink on the parchment using a gelatin solution, made innumerable repairs with Japanese paper and reattached separated folios.”
In 2000, a team began recovering the erased texts. They used imaging techniques that rely on the processing of different wavelengths of infrared, visible and ultraviolet light in a technique called multispectral imaging. By employing different processing techniques, including Principal Components Analysis, text was exposed that had not been seen in a thousand years.
By 2004, about 80% of the manuscript had been imaged. The most difficult pages left were covered with a layer of grime or 20th-century painted forgeries. These leaves were brought to the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), one of the most advanced light laboratories in the world, where a tiny but powerful x-ray beam scanned the leaves. The x-rays detected and recorded where beams bounced off iron atoms, and since the ink of the Palimpsest’s under text is written with iron, the writing on the page could be mapped. This enabled scholars to read large sections of previously hidden text.”
“Sitar master and composer Ravi Shankar died Tuesday at a hospital near his home in the San Diego area. Shankar’s foundation released a statement that says the musician had suffered from upper-respiratory and heart issues over the past year and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last week. He was 92.
When he was just 10 years old, Pandit Ravi Shankar began performing in Europe and the U.S. with his family’s Indian dance troupe. It was a glamorous life: the best hotels, the best meals, celebrities coming backstage to say just how much they’d enjoyed the concert. But at age 18, Shankar gave up all the glitter and went back to a dusty little town in India to study with a guru who taught him the sitar. He apprenticed for years, then started to play in public on the ancient and difficult string instrument. Eventually, he became a master.
Shankar’s music is like a fine Indian sari — silken, swirling, exotic, it can break your heart with its beauty. He was a respected classical musician, but in 1966 he became an international superstar when George Harrison studied with him. Shankar’s goal to make Eastern music known in the West was achieved with help from The Beatles, though he grew discouraged by the hippie scene, where drugs clouded the attention of his audience.
Back in India, Shankar wrote sitar concerts for Western symphony orchestras and continued touring. The composer and performer remained a teacher too. In December of 2004, when I visited his home in New Delhi, the sitar master was still giving lessons. He sat on the carpeted floor in an old brown sweater vest playing simple exercises; his sitar filled the room with feeling.
“[This music] is sort of is a combination of shanta and karuna, which means tranquility and sadness,” he said of the piece he was playing. “This sadness is … like wanting to reach out [for something] and not finding it, whether for a lover or for God.”
Shankar’s music reached out to some of the West’s finest musicians. Violinist Yehudi Menuhin and composer Philip Glass were friends and collaborators. One of today’s top pop stars, Grammy winner Norah Jones, is Shankar’s daughter. Another daughter, Anoushka, learned sitar from her father, and now takes his classical tradition and makes it more contemporary.
A few winters ago in Delhi, remembering those demanding early years of sitar studies, Ravi Shankar said his guru’s most important lesson was this: “He says that we have to earn our livelihood, and for that we have to perform and accept money. But music is not for sale. The music that I have learned and want to give is like worshiping God. It’s absolutely like a prayer.”
Shankar once said he felt ecstasy when he made music — the world was erased, and he experienced great peace. His music embraced and lifted those who heard and loved it, his widow Sukanya, his daughters and his many fans.”
AN: a great musician and a great man. It takes couragee, leadership and dedication to achieve the stature of musician and life that Ravi did. A great loss.
via Ravi Shankar, Who Brought Eastern Music To Western Legends, Dies : The Record : NPR.
“WALTER DE BROUWER’S company has built a working prototype of a hand-held medical diagnostic system. Doctors may fret, but there will always be a need for their skills.”
AN : from the realm of Trekkie Science Fiction to the realistic. Facinating approach to vital medical diagnostics using a specialized tool and the ubiquitous smartphone.
via Scanadu’s Tricorder, the Scout: Not carbon-based, but effective | The Economist.
“New York City’s tech sector might not yet be at critical mass. But it’s booming by nearly every measure. By some, it has transformed itself into a tech city second only to Silicon Valley. Research from the Center for an Urban Future found that some 486 New York City start-ups created since 2007 have gotten some form of private investment, including from angel investors or venture capitalists. The New York Tech Meetup, a monthly geek revival, regularly fills NYU’s 870-seat Skirball Center theater, with additional $10 tickets sold to watch the demos and presentations from an overflow venue. Half of the nearly 300 start-ups on a “Made in New York City” list maintained by the Meetup recently reported that they were hiring.
Cornell’s long-standing academic reputation and Technion’s proven industry expertise were no doubt appealing, says Pinsky, but what was otherwise so attractive about the bid was the schools’ embrace of what’s already taking place in New York City. “Cornell and the Technion basically asked the question the same way” as the city saw it, says Pinsky. “What they asked was, ‘What are the issues we should be tackling given the competitive advantages of the city?’” That the schools were talking about “hubs” and “connective media,” not “majors” and “computer science,” told officials that they were willing to tinker with their academic models, with New York City itself as their muse.”
AN : great, longer article about the technology Hub and growth in NYC. Roosevelt Is. to be site for Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, or TCII.
via Tech & the City – Next American City.