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Scientists at Walters Art Museum Uncovering Math Treasures from Archimedes

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., November 2007 -- MegaVision's cameras, together with multispectral LED lighting, enable researchers to uncover text without destroying the original documents, and their experience in the digital imaging of rare and one-of-a-kind objects have made the company a sought-after resource in the field of archival and forensic photography.

The company's EurekaVision™ system integrates its cameras with the lighting technology employed by the scientific team that revealed the long-lost writings of one of the greatest mathematicians in history.

Seven treatises by the Greek engineer and mathematician Archimedes (287-212 B.C.) were overwritten by monastic scribes when they used recycled parchment sheets to write an 11th-century Byzantine prayer book.

Two of the treatises - The Stomachion and The Method - exist nowhere else in the world, and the book is also the unique source for Archimedes' treatise On Floating Bodies in the original Greek.

The Archimedes Palimpsest (the word comes from a Greek word meaning "scraped again," and refers to the long-ago practice of scraping text off a page of parchment and then overwriting it with a new text) consists of 174 parchment folios and resides at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, where it is being conserved, imaged, and studied.

It was purchased by an anonymous donor for $2 million in 1998 at Christie's auction house in New York.

Because of its age, the Palimpsest is the earliest surviving Archimedes manuscript by about 400 years. It is the most important source for the diagrams that he drew in the sand at Syracuse, Sicily in the third century B.C.

The contributions that he made through the medium of geometry enabled him to elaborate on the principles for devices such as the pulley, the fulcrum and the lever, devices which have been used ever since their invention. He is also credited with the discovery of the principle of buoyancy, which has come down to us with the perhaps-apocryphal story of coming to this conclusion while soaking in a bathtub, then shouting "Eureka!" and running naked into the street in the intellectual excitement of the moment.

Santa Barbara based MegaVision introduced the first professional quality digital camera over 20 years ago. MegaVision pioneered the dawn of the digital revolution in imaging. MegaVision continues its legacy of imaging excellence providing the highest quality camera systems for the professional, scientific, cultural and medical industry.

For more information about the Archimedes Palimpsest Project visit:

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For Further Information:

CONTACT: Jennifer Boydston, Administrative Assistant, at MegaVision Corporation, 805-964-1400.

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