The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity’s Greatest Scientist


The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity’s Greatest Scientist by Reviel Netz and William Noel

Synopsis: The extraordinary story of the discovery of lost works by Archimedes beneath the pages of a medieval prayer book, and the amazing secrets they reveal.

At a Christie’s auction in October 1998, a battered medieval manuscript sold for two million dollars to an anonymous bidder, who then turned it over to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore for further study. The manuscript was a palimpsest–a book made from an earlier codex whose script had been scraped off and the pages used again. Behind the script of the thirteenth-century monk’s prayer book, the palimpsest revealed the faint writing of a much older, tenth-century manuscript.


Published: October 2007 | ISBN-13: 978-0753823729

Mini-bio: Reviel Netz is a noted Israeli scholar of the history of pre-modern mathematics, who is currently a professor of Classics and of Philosophy at Stanford University. Wikipedia

Mini-bio: William Noel is the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at the Walters Art Museum. But for someone who spends the majority of his time analyzing ancient and medieval artifacts, he also embraces social media and stresses its value even for the oldest, most established academic and cultural institutions. Noel believes passionately that institutions should free their digital data.
William’s Twitter:

American Mathematical Society Book Review [pdf]
Curled Up Book Review
Kirkus Reviews Book Review
Math Mama Writes Book Review

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