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Splashing out of the Bath: Archimedes and the Palimpsest

Date
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Time
03:15 PM–04:30 PM

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Archimedes was not merely antiquity’s greatest scientist: he also became an ancient legend, capturing the imagination of countless generations of Greek and Roman readers. One may wonder just what was so special about him and how his work is relevant today. Reviel Netz, Professor of Classics and Philosophy at Stanford University, will lead us through the main features of the science of Archimedes, emphasizing the special “personal” character of his exploration, and specifically the ways Archimedes always aimed for maximal effect and surprise, crafting his treatises more like literary works of art than mathematical theorems.

Netz found these qualities while sifting through the new readings that emerged from the Archimedes Palimpsest, revealing why this is the world’s greatest palimpsest and the central extant document of Archimedes’ own mind. Netz will also expose the ways in which new readings from the Archimedes Palimpsest help us reconstruct the immense scientific personality that Archimedes represents. He is the co-author with Will Noel of The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity's Greatest Scientist.

About the Speaker

Reviel Netz is Professor of Classics and Philosophy at Stanford University, and author of many studies in Greek mathematics, specializing on the history of pre-modern mathematics. Netz’ primary focus is aimed at revealing the achievement of the mathematician’s mind. During last decade, together with Nigel Wilson (Emeritus Fellow at Lincoln College at Oxford University) Netz has transcribed Archimedes' obscured text, long hidden within the Archimedes Palimpsest. Netz received his PhD in Classics from Christ’s College of Cambridge; his M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science as well as his B.A. in Ancient History from Tel Aviv University.

This talk is part four of a half day forum focused on the special exhibition Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes.

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