[GBW] Lecture- Archimedes Codex

Anne Hillam ahillam at NYAM.ORG
Thu Jan 10 16:58:05 EST 2008

The New York Academy of Medicine Section on the History of Medicine and Public Health proudly announces the fourth talk in its 2007-2008 Public Lecture Series:

The Annual Friends of the Rare Book Room Lecture

The Strange Case of the Archimedes Codex
William Noel, The Walters Art Museum

Tuesday, January 22, 2008, 6:00 PM with light refreshments at 5:30 PM
Friends Reception to follow the Lecture

This talk will explore an astonishing manuscript: a thirteenth century prayer book whose hand-written text was known to conceal unique texts of two treatises by Archimedes. This is a story of the survival of ancient texts against all odds and their retrieval by high-tech means. 

The Archimedes Palimpsest is a medieval parchment manuscript containing 174 folios that exists now as a prayer book that was completed by April of 1229, almost certainly in Constantinople. To make the prayer book, the scribes used parchment that had already been used for writing other books. Most importantly, they used a book containing seven treatises by Archimedes, several of which no longer exist in any other form. The palimpsest contains the only surviving copy of On Floating Bodies in Greek, the language in which Archimedes wrote, and the only copies of The Method of Mechanical Theorems, and a portion of the Stomachion. Other texts that were used to create the prayer book are also unique, and several of them have yet to be identified. 

The hidden texts are slowly being preserved by conservators, revealed by imaging scientists, and read by scholars. Sophisticated multispectral digital imaging techniques have been used to enhance the underlying text to make it appear so that it can be seen and worked on by scholars.

Dr. William Noel is the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, a position he has held since 1997. He has also been the Director of Studies in the History of Art at Downing College, Cambridge University, and the Assistant Curator of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Aside from his most recent book, The Archimedes Codex (2007), co-authored with Reviel Netz, he is also the author of The Oxford Bible Pictures (2004), which concerns a series of English miniatures from the thirteenth century in the Walters Art Museum collections, and The Harley Psalter (1995), an in-depth investigation into the making of an illustrated eleventh century psalter. 
To register for this talk, visit http://www.nyam.org/events 

Save the Dates! 

Thursday, February 21, 2008 , 6:00 PM (with reception at 5:30)
Bertrand Taithe, Medicine in Wartime, Part II:  "The Giant Hospital: Besieged Paris in the Modern War Era, 1870-1871"

Thursday, March 27, 2008 , 6:00 PM (with reception at 5:30)
Arleen Tuchman, The Iago Galdston Lecture,"Diabetes: A Cultural History"

Thursday, April 24, 2008, 6:00 PM (with reception at 5:30)
Beth Linker, Medicine in Wartime, Part III: Limb Lab: Getting Amputee Soldiers Back to Work in World War I America

Thursday, May 8, 2008, 6:00 PM (with reception at 5:30)
Susan Smith, The Annual Lilianna Sauter Lecture, Medicine in Wartime, Part IV: "Human Experimentation with Mustard Gas in World War II" 

This event is free and open to the public.  To register for this event, visit http://www.nyam.org/events 

For more information about NYAM programs in the history of medicine, visit our website at http://www.nyam.org/histmed, write history at nyam.org, or call 212.822.7310. 

Historical programs at NYAM are supported by the Friends of the Rare Book Room. Please join the Friends! Download a membership form at http://www.nyam.org/initiatives/docs/FRBR_Renewal.pdf.


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