of no fixed subtitle
August 03, 2006
New Light on the Archimedes Palimpsest
More information at
the Palimpsest website
the quidnunc kid
17 years ago
Right on, this is pretty interesting. I have to disagree with the article's claim that Archimedes was the first recorded person to conceive of infinity. Zeno explored the concept of infinity a couple hundred years before Archimedes.
I also take issue with the wording: "conceive of infinity". I don't believe anyone has ever conceived of infinity, and I would assert that it's almost universally agreed upon that no human could ever conceive of infinity.
I do look forward to exploring the Palimpsest website more thoroughly.
This is very cool.
Indeed! Very cool! *rubs hands with glee in expectation of more Xenophon showing up*
Excellent stuff. I see there is a live webcast tomorow at 4.00pm.
Fab stuff, thanks for linky quiddy. *lit-geeks out*
Thanks for the link Quidocles. I think the writer meant to say "conceived of the mathematic concept of infinity" or some such. "forever and ever" type of infinity was probably hit upon by others. Okay strike the "probably".
Brittanica's take on infinity:
In mathematics, the useful concept of a process with no end. As represented by the symbol ∞, it is often mistakenly thought to be the largest number or a place on the real number line. Instead, it is the idea of a limit, as in the expression x → ∞, which suggests that the variable x increases without bound. For example, the function f(x) = 1/x, or the reciprocal of x, tends toward 0 as x approaches infinity as a limit. This process of approaching is crucial to the definition of the derivative and the integral in calculus, as well as to many other concepts of mathematical analysis.
So if infinity is a "concept" or "idea" then the wording "conceive of infinity" is correct.
I just like saying "Archimedes Palimpsest" at every possible opportunity.
. . . as in the expression x → ∞, which suggests that the variable x increases without bound. For example, the function f(x) = 1/x, or the reciprocal of x, tends toward aaaa
aaAAAAIIIIGGGHHH!!! *smash* *crush* *destroy* *defile*
> Zeno explored the concept of infinity a couple hundred years before Archimedes.
the writer's statement is odd and is perhaps a misinterpretation. i *think* the difference is that archimedes explicitly used infinitesimals, whereas zeno implicitly used them. if you can have a mathematical system without infinity (and people have done so), then it's certainly possible to conceive of infinity.
The Zero Saga
Zero is the same as infinity, right?
This is one of those I've bookmarked for later reading. Thanks,
when asked whether she'd like a cup of tea "Archimedes Palimpsest"
says to me
I learned about this on
. Thanks for the update.
New Layer of Ancient Greek Writings Detected in Medieval Book