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Fermilab Lecture Series presents:
Archimedes: Ancient Writings Under X-Ray Vision
Dr. Uwe Bergmann, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Friday, September 28, 2007

Archimedes of Syracuse (287 – 212 BC) is considered one of the most brilliant thinkers of all times. The 10th century parchment document known as the Archimedes Palimpsest is the unique source for two of the Greek’s treatises – the Stomachion, and The Method of Mechanical Theorems. It is also the only source for On Floating Bodies in Greek. The privately owned palimpsest is the subject of an integrated campaign of conservation, imaging, and scholarship being undertaken at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Much of the text has been imaged by various optical techniques, but some significant gaps remained. A breakthrough in uncovering the missing Archimedes writings has recently been achieved at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. Using x-ray fluorescence imaging, writings from faint traces of the partly erased iron gall ink were brought to light. The x-ray image revealed writings from some of Archimedes’ most important works covered by 12th century biblical texts and 20th century gold forgeries. Please join us for a fascinating journey of a 1000 year old parchment from its origin in the Mediterranean city of Constantinople to a particle accelerator in California.

Dr. Bergmann is a physicist in the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory at SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). His work is largely with X-Ray spectroscopy development and application. He received his Ph.D. from The State University of New York at Stonybrook, and has now been at the Synchrotron Laboratory since 2003.


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