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Math Trek

A Prayer for Archimedes

A long-lost text by the ancient Greek mathematician shows that he had begun to discover the principles of calculus.

By
8:48pm, October 3, 2007

For seventy years, a prayer book moldered in the closet of a family in France, passed down from one generation to the next. Its mildewed parchment pages were stiff and contorted, tarnished by burn marks and waxy smudges. Behind the text of the prayers, faint Greek letters marched in lines up the page, with an occasional diagram disappearing into the spine.

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