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Ancient Greeks Understood "Infinity"

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 10:05 AM

Posted By Saruman on Thursday, November 14 2002

Subject: Ancient Greeks Understood "Infinity"

A casual visit to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore by Stanford Classics Prof. Reviel Netz and colleague Ken Saito of Osaka Prefecture University has proven to be more fruitful than either imagined. A scrupulous examination of a section from the Archimedes Palimpsest has contradicted widely held views of the history of mathematics by showing that the ancient Greeks understood the concept of infinity.

The palimpsest — text written over text — contains a compendium of mathematical treatises, including the only copy of “Method of Mechanical Theorems,” in which Archimedes explains how he drew upon mechanical means to elucidate his mathematical theorems.

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