A whole bunch of years after the primary strive, we are able to lastly learn a Ptolemy textual content

Image of a man holding an instrument to the sky, directed to do so by a woman.

Enlarge / An artist’s conception of Ptolemy utilizing an instrument to look at the night time sky. (credit score: Getty Photos)

It was solely pure for Alexander Jones to really feel thrilled when he noticed a sixth century palimpsest on the Ambrosiana library in Milan for the primary time. It occurred in 1984 when Jones was engaged on his dissertation utilizing manuscripts in Italy. With the instruments at his disposal, together with a transportable ultraviolet lamp and microfilm, he may solely learn a number of strains. However Jones’ curiosity was piqued as a result of there have been pages of the textual content that nobody had succeeded in studying.

These pages remained unread till this yr when a big a part of the textual content was deciphered by Jones, a professor of Historical past of the Precise Sciences in Antiquity at New York College, who labored with Victor Gysembergh and Emanuel Zingg of the Paris-based Léon Robin Centre. The fabric they found seems to be a replica of Claudius Ptolemy’s treatise on a scientific instrument known as the meteoroscope.

Discovering Ptolemy

Ptolemy, who was born in 100 CE, was a famend astronomer and mathematician who authored a number of vital works, together with Almagest and Geography. The treatise on the meteoroscope is an outline of the best way to use the instrument for observations, in addition to for doing astronomy calculations.

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