The Getty Villa
Date: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium

Archimedes Palimpsest
 
A exceptional 13th-century prayer book, bought at auction in October 1998, was discovered to contain erased texts written several centuries earlier, among them seven treatises by the ancient Sicilian scientist Archimedes. Two of these texts—The Method and Stomachion—are found nowhere else.

William Noel and Reviel Netz, the two scholars who brought The Archimedes Codex back to life, discuss their work researching one of the world's most treasured books and the sophisticated technology used to uncover the hidden treatises. They talk about what was learned from Archimedes himself and from the process of recovering his text and diagrams buried in a medieval palimpsest—a manuscript from which text has been scraped off and used again. Among their key insights is the realization that books are not just inert depositories of information but rather evolving cognitive tools, brimming with symbols, annotations, and diagrams.

This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome on view April 3 through August 19, 2013 at the Getty Villa, where a page from The Archimedes Palimpsest is on display.

About William Noel
William Noel is director of the Special Collections Center and founding director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He has held positions at Downing College, University of Cambridge, England; The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; and The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was curator of manuscripts and rare books. A specialist in the fields of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman manuscripts, hes published extensively and been responsible for more than 20 exhibitions on the art of the book. Noel has also published, with co-author Reviel Netz, a popular account of the story of the Archimedes Palimpsest and the project to extract its unique texts. That book, The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity's Greatest Scientist, appears in 20 languages and was awarded the Neumann Prize in 2009 from the British Society for the History of Mathematics.

About Reviel Netz
Reviel Netz is professor of classics and philosophy at Standford University in Palo Alto, California. Netz's main field is the history of pre-modern mathematics. His research involves the wider issues of the history of cognitive practices, e.g. visual culture, the history of the book, and literacy and numeracy. His books from Cambridge University Press include The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics: a Study in Cognitive History (1999, Runciman Award), The Transformation of Early Mediterranean Mathematics: From Problems to Equations (2004), and Ludic Proof: Greek Mathematics and the Alexandrian Aesthetic (2009). He is also the author of the translation and commentary of the works of Archimedes, a three-volume set of which the first has appeared, The Two Books on Sphere and Cylinder (2004).

Planning your visit
The main gate on Pacific Coast Highway opens to ticketed guests at 6:00 p.m. The auditorium opens at 7:00 p.m., and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests arriving late will be seated at the discretion of Getty staff. The galleries will be open before and after the lecture. A selection of light "grab 'n go" dinner fare as well as beer and wine are available for purchase at the Café until 7:30 p.m. Complimentary refreshments will be served following the lecture.


How to Get Here
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.