Archimedes and accidental discovery - 54

Some mathematical technique that Archimedes pioneered thousands of years BCE wasn't discovered until almost two thousand years AD. A prayer book or something like that was sold at auction and discovered to have information behind the writing (called a palimpset; in art, it's called apentimento) that belonged to Archimedes

Something similar happened with the amateur (and trailblazing) mathematician Fermat, whose marginalia writing contained lots of neat math stuff

It makes me think about how this could happen in a world of encrypted information. I don't want to go to a world without it but it makes me wonder if future generations might be missing out on ahead-of-their-time ideas or concepts from our current history that they won't be aware of because they might find our records but be unable to read them. Unless we're banking on an ability to decrypt that far surpasses our ability to encrypt, like what our digital PCs did to enigma machines and more basic ciphers that came before it


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