Lost in Plain Sight

Technology is amazing. Machines and devices do wonderful things, but without imagination in the application of that technology, nothing really productive gets done. As an example, see the March issue of the Smithsonian Magazine.

An article, "Reading Between the Lines," spells out how an ancient parchment that had been scraped clean of its original writing and recycled as a 10th century prayer book was made to give up its original writing. The original writing contained mathematical theories of Archimedes, one of the world's greatest mathematicians. Archimedes lived in the 2nd Century B.C. These theories were never seen before, so the discovery was significant. This article describes how researchers were able to use X-ray technology to show the ink used in the original document. The X-rays highlighted the iron in the ink and were able to show the writing even under the gold leaf that had been used by later writers to ornament the parchment. What is so impressive is the application of this technology to solve a unique problem. Creative application of technology is often as important as the technology itself. For information on the Theories of Archimedes in this manuscript, see

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