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Monday, March 24, 2008

Archimedes Student Project at the College of the Holy Cross

A team of Holy Cross students, together with students from Furman University, will be helping to create an electronic edition of a tenth century manuscript of the great mathematician Archimedes.

The manuscript was recycled when the original text (the palimpsest) was scraped off, and overwritten to create a prayer book in the 13th century. The discovery of the palimpsest in 1906 created a sensation in the scholarly world because it includes works of Archimedes that are nowhere else preserved. The manuscript disappeared during the First World War, and only resurfaced in the 1990s. For the past decade, the Archimedes Project, made up of an international team of scholars, has worked on the conservation of the badly damaged text. With the aid of digital imaging processing, the project has been able to bring out parts of the palimpsest not previously legible.

Now, 10 Holy Cross classics majors (and a group of undergraduate Greek students at Furman University) will work with digital photography and initial transcriptions of the palimpsest by classicists at Oxford and Stanford universities. After adding accents and punctuation to the bare letters recorded in the manuscript, the students will create documents structured in XML following the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative. The resulting electronic texts can be used to generate print editions and web pages, or can be queried and manipulated interactively. etc. at Holy Cross Publical Affairs website

source: Ioannis Kokkinidis (per email) from Google News.