The Imaging of the Archimedes Palimpsest

X-ray Fluorescence Imaging — Introduction

There is a well known equation in program management circles that for 20% of the effort one can get 80% of the result, but that one can spend 80% of the effort achieving that final 20% of the result. The imaging procedure that was employed to image the majority of the Archimedes Palimpsest was an extremely effective way of recovering most of the text. However, it was of very little use in reading the text underneath the forged pages, and some areas of text still proved recalcitrant.

Reviel Netz sent in this example on September 29, 2003, circling the area he could not read, and writing “this example is from the Method, middle of 158v. col. 1. Here Archimedes draws some lines to do something, but I am not sure which something it is (I have a guess, but it's just a guess). If I get the letters referring to the diagram describing where the lines go through, and get a couple of words before that, I think I'll be able to settle with great certainty the mathematical action of this proposition.”

As a result a small conference was held n April 1, 2004 to determine how best to retrieve the remaining text from the Palimpsest. There were three main approaches.

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