Claws and Combinatorics in the Ancient World
February 20, 2007 8:07 PM Subscribe
We've talked about the Archimedes death ray, but it is not the only mysterious ancient war machine the Greek scientist constructed. A contemporary Greek historian describes a wide number of clever devices developed by Archimedes during the siege of Syracuse by Roman forces - most notably a mysterious "Claw" that destroyed invading ships. You can see animations and scale models that attempt to reconstruct the Claw. Other, less-warlike, Archimedes secrets are being revealed as the Archimedes Palimpset, an overwritten text of some of the scientist's mathematical writings, has been gradually recovered using new techniques. Among the suprises is the Stomachion, a mathematical puzzle (tangrams, anyone?) and early discussion of combanitorics.
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