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Archimedes: Separating Myth From Science
NY Times ^ | June 24, 2013 | KENNETH CHANG

Posted on 06/30/2013 11:27:01 AM PDT by neverdem

For the last time: Archimedes did not invent a death ray.

But more than 2,200 years after his death, his inventions are still driving technological innovations — so much so that experts from around the world gathered recently for a conference at New York University on his continuing influence.

The death ray legend has Archimedes using mirrors to concentrate sunlight to incinerate Roman ships attacking his home of Syracuse,...


With his law of buoyancy, he was able to determine whether a paraboloid (a shape similar to the nose cone of a jetliner) would float upright or tip over, a principle of utmost importance to ship designers, and Archimedes probably realized that the Roman ships were vulnerable as they came close to the city walls.

“Archimedes knew about the stability of these kinds of ships,” said Harry G. Harris, an emeritus professor of structural engineering at Drexel who has built a model of the claw. “When it is moving fast through the water, it is stable. Standing still or going very slow, it is very easy to tip over.”

So using an Archimedean principle — the law of the lever, which enables a small force to lift a large weight, as in seesaws and pulleys — a claw at the end of a chain would be lowered and hooked into a Roman ship, then lifted to capsize the ship and crash it against the rocks.

Syracuse won the battle but was weakened under a long siege and fell three years later. And in 212 B.C., at the age of about 75, Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier, supposedly furious that he refused to stop work on a mathematical drawing. His last words: “Do not disturb my circles!”

Of course, that bit about the circles is probably also a myth.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: History; Science
KEYWORDS: archimedes; deathray; godsgravesglyphs; romanships; science

1 posted on 06/30/2013 11:27:01 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Anyone who has seen what the Greeks and Romans had for “mirrors” would know that reflecting and focusing the sun’s rays into a long distance incendiary device was a ludicrous notion.

2 posted on 06/30/2013 11:35:03 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (21st century. I'm not a fan.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

In high school some 55 years ago, the myth of the mirrors was taught as fact to illustrate the power of geometry.

3 posted on 06/30/2013 11:43:45 AM PDT by JimSEA
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To: ClearCase_guy
a ludicrous notion

Like my Aunt told me: The sun in Phoenix is different from the sun in Idaho. So the Greeks used a different sun is all.

4 posted on 06/30/2013 11:48:34 AM PDT by bigheadfred (barry your mouth is writing checks your ass cant cash)
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks neverdem.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.

5 posted on 06/30/2013 12:04:26 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (McCain or Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: neverdem
For the last time: Archimedes did not invent a death ray.

No, but the Atlanteans did.

Atlantis, The Lost Continent

6 posted on 06/30/2013 12:31:04 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: ClearCase_guy

It could be done, actually. They used to coat their ships in pitch to keep them together.

7 posted on 06/30/2013 12:37:40 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge ("we are pilgrims in an unholy land")
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To: neverdem
Difinitive Reference: Muthbusters Episode 46: Archimedes’ Death Ray

The theory was busted not once but twice by the engineers at Mythbusters.

Here's the video.

8 posted on 06/30/2013 12:39:24 PM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Who will shoot Liberty Valence?)
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To: neverdem
"But in practice, the tiny difference in volume between a crown made of pure gold and one made of a mixture of gold and silver is too small to be reliably measured."

Leave it to the NYT to get even this wrong. The density of silver is 10.5 grams per cc while the density of gold is 19.3 grams per cc. There is nearly a 2 to one difference. It would be quite easy to determine the difference using Archimedes Principle. Simply weigh the amount of water displaced by immersing the crown in water to determine its volume. Then weigh the crown and divide by the volume. If it is anything less than 19.3 grams per cc, off with his head.

9 posted on 06/30/2013 1:17:58 PM PDT by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks for the ping.

10 posted on 06/30/2013 1:23:45 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! -Ps80)
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To: bert

Thanks for the link.

11 posted on 06/30/2013 1:33:00 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: norwaypinesavage

Too complicated.

Just drop the weight of the crown in gold into a basin filled with water, which overflows. Pull out the gold via a string, and lower the crown in.

If any water overflows, the crown is not pure gold.

Archimedes didn’t have to figure out how much the gold in the crown had been diluted, only that it was.

12 posted on 06/30/2013 5:16:55 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Atomic-Scale Structure of Ribosome Could Lead to Better Antibiotics

Cancer Scientists Prove Long-Standing Theory on How Cancer Spreads

Processed carbohydrates are addictive, brain study suggests

Psyllium helps fight type 2 diabetes mellitus I explained what is a statistically significant result in medicine in comment# 14.

Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women The A TO Z Weight Loss Study: A Randomized Trial Check the abstract.

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

P.S. I just stumbled on the last link when I was trying to explain significant numbers. I added the diabetes list to this thread because they might not have seen that link on the other thread where they already got a ping.

13 posted on 06/30/2013 11:48:21 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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