Jeff gets a no-prize covered in invisible ink for bringing us news of a new development in the quest to unlock the secrets of ancient books:
A particle accelerator is being used to reveal the long-lost writings of the Greek mathematician Archimedes, work hidden for centuries after a Christian monk wrote over it in the Middle Ages.
The so-called Archimedes Palimpsest includes the only copy of the treatise "Method of Mechanical Theorems," in which Archimedes explains how he used mechanical means to develop his mathematical theorems. It is also the only source in the original Greek for the treatise "On Floating Bodies," in which Archimedes deals with the physics of flotation and gravity.
In this age of 3c copies it's hard to imagine holding the only existing copy of anything, let alone something as important as this sort of book. Yet for thousands of years this was commonplace, unremarkable. Little wonder the development of the printing press is considered one of the milestones of human achievement.