Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
NOVA Home Find out what's coming up on air Listing of previous NOVA Web sites NOVA's history Subscribe to the NOVA bulletin Lesson plans and more for teachers NOVA RSS feeds Tell us what you think Program transcripts Buy NOVA videos or DVDs Watch NOVA programs online Answers to frequently asked questions


Infinite Secrets homepage



The Works of Archimedes.
Archimedes and Sir Thomas Heath (translator). Mineola, NY: Dover, 2002.
Contains all known mathematical and scientific works of Archimedes. For adults.

Archimedes and the Door to Science.
Bendick, Jeanne and Laura M. Berquist. Warsaw, ND: Bethlehem Books, 1997.
Describes Archimedes' life and his contributions to physics, astronomy, and math. For young adults.

The Sand-Reckoner.
Bradshaw, Gillian. New York, NY: Tom Doherty Associates, 2000.
Explores the life of Archimedes through an historical novel. For adults.

Dijksterhuis, E. J. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton Univ. Press, 1987.
Shows how Archimedes developed his ideas through the use of geometry. For adults.

Lafferty, Peter. New York, NY: Bookwright, 1991.
Examines the life, discoveries, and contributions of the ancient Greek mathematician. For young adults.

Archimedes: What Did He Do Besides Cry Eureka?
Stein, Sherman. Washington, DC: The Mathematical Association of America, 1999.
Describes Archimedes' methods for determining center of gravity, floating bodies, the spiral, the sphere, pi, and more. For young adults and adults.

Dime: ¿Cómo flotan los barcos?
Willis, Shirley. New York, NY: Franklin Watts, 1999.
Provides simple experiments that explore floating and sinking and Archimedes' principle of buoyancy. (Spanish) For children.


Infinite Secrets.
WGBH Boston Video, 2004.
Examines Archimedes' life, his work, and the science involved in the restoration of the Palimpsest. For young adults and adults.

Web Sites

Infinite Secrets
Provides articles, interviews, interactive activities, and resources related to the "Infinite Secrets" program. For all ages.

Archimedes and the Computation of Pi
Demonstrates how Archimedes calculated the value for pi by inscribing and circumscribing regular polygons around a circle. For young adults and adults.

Archimedes Home Page
Includes information on Archimedes' life and work as well as pictures and animations of his inventions. For all ages.

Archimedes' Palimpsest at the Walters Art Gallery
Serves as the official site of information regarding the Palimpsest. For all ages.

Archimedes of Syracuse
Provides a biography of Archimedes, mostly told in the words of Plutarch, a historian who lived in Greece in about A.D. 100. For young adults and adults.

Archimedes of Syracuse: The Father of Buoyancy
Tells the story of how Archimedes used buoyancy to determine whether King Hiero's crown was pure gold. For all ages.

Math and Mathematicians


The Joy of Pi.
Blatner, David. New York, NY: Walker, 1997.
Explores pi and those fascinated with it—from the ancient Egyptians to the modern—day Chudnovsky brothers, who have calculated pi to billions of digits with a homemade supercomputer. For young adults and adults.

Journey Through Genius: Great Theorems of Mathematics.
Dunham, William. New York, NY: Wiley, 1990. Investigates 17 landmark mathematical theorems, which span 2,300 years and represent the work of 10 mathematicians. For adults.

Color Farm.
Ehlert, Lois. New York, NY: Lippincott, 1990.
Introduces geometry with a barnyard full of animals made of colorful shapes. For children.

The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure.
Enzensberger, Hans Magnus. New York, NY: Henry Holt, 1998.
Tells the story of 12-year-old Robert, a boy who hates math until he gets a visit from the Number Devil. For young adults.

The Crest of the Peacock.
Joseph, George Gheverghese. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.
Provides a tour of non-European math developments, including the influence of the Egyptians and Babylonians on the Greeks and the math of India and China. For adults.

Barron's Math Wizardry for Kids.
Kenda, Margaret, and Phyllis S. Williams. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 1995.
Includes more than 200 math puzzles, games, designs, and projects. For children.

Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes.
Murphy, Stuart. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2001.
Follows Captain Invincible, who encounters three-dimensional shapes while piloting his spaceship through the skies. For children.

A Beautiful Mind.
Nasar, Sylvia. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2001.
Tells the story of John Nash, a man who spent a lifetime battling schizophrenia and who won the Nobel Prize for his contribution to the field of game theory. For adults.

G Is for Googol: A Math Alphabet Book.
Schwartz, David M. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press, 1998.
Explores geometry, number series, and math history through each letter of the alphabet. For young adults.

A to Z of Women in Science and Math.
Yount, Lisa. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1999.
Profiles more than 150 women from antiquity to the present who have made contributions in science and math. For young adults.

Web Sites

Famous Problems in the History of Mathematics
Explores the history and culture surrounding certain famous math problems and their solutions, including the Bridges of Königsburg, the value of pi, and several famous paradoxes. For young adults and adults.

The MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive
Includes numerous biographies of notable mathematicians. Can be searched by name, location, time period, or subject. For young adults and adults.

Mathematicians of the African Diaspora
Primarily profiles biographies of mathematicians of African descent and includes a listing of organizations dedicated to minorities in math and science. For young adults and adults.

Ancient Machines and Inventions


Inventors and Inventions of the Ancient World.
Baldwin, Gordon C. New York, NY: MacMillan, 1973.
Discusses inventions of the ancient world and cultures that produced them. For children.

Science in Early Islamic Culture.
Beshore, George. New York, NY: F. Watts, 1998.
Describes the scientific discoveries in the Islamic world after the birth of Mohammed in A.D. 571 and discusses their impact on Western civilization. For children and young adults.

Science in Ancient Greece.
Gay, Kathleen. Danbury, CT: Grolier, 1998.
Discusses the theories and discoveries of the ancient Greek philosophers and scientists and their impact on modern science. For children and young adults.

Ancient Inventions.
James, Peter and Nick Thorpe. New York, NY: Ballentine Books, 1995.
Includes more than 90 inventions created before A.D. 1492. Entries are divided into sections such as "Military Technology" and "Communications." Each entry consists of the historical developments leading up to the invention, a biographical description of the inventor, and the story of the creation of the invention itself. For adults.

Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the Ancient World.
Krebs, Robert E., and Carolyn A. Krebs. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
Traces the history and development of approximately 100 discoveries, inventions, and experiments of the ancient world. For young adults and adults.

The Way Things Work.
Macaulay, David. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1988.
Explains how many common things work. For children and young adults.

Discoveries, Inventions & Ideas.
Shuter, Jane. Des Plaines, IL: Heineman Library, 1999.
Concentrates on the great discoveries, inventions, and ideas of the ancient Greeks from 800 B.C. to 146 B.C. Includes a glossary, an index, and a list of related books. For children.

Ancient Machines: From Wedges to Waterwheels.
Woods, Michael, and Mary B. Woods. Minneapolis, MN: Runestone Press, 2000.
Discusses six simple machines invented from the Stone Age to the fall of the Roman Empire. For children and young adults.


In Search of History: Ancient Inventions.
History Channel Video, 1996.
Details the technological achievements of ancient civilizations from the pyramids to a battery built before the birth of Christ. For young adults and adults. (50 minutes)

Ancient Inventions.
Discovery Channel Video, 1997.
Takes a humorous look at ancient inventions and ideas. Covers the cultural background of ancient devices, how they were inspired, who invented them, what they were used for, and what impact they made on ancient societies. For young adults and adults. (3 volumes, 52 minutes each)

Web Site

Museum of Ancient Inventions
Provides a virtual museum of ancient inventions. Includes photos of replicas of different inventions and describes how these models were made. For all ages.

History of Books and Bookmaking


The Story of Writing and Printing.
Ganeri, Anita. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Presents an overview, from ancient times to the present, of the evolution of writing, including the development of alphabets, writing instruments, inks and papers, and printing methods. For young adults.

A Book of One's Own: Developing Literacy Through Making Books.
Johnson, Paul. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1990.
Shows teachers how to teach kids to write, design, and bind a book. For adults.

The Evolution of the Book.
Kilgour, Frederick G. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Provides a history of the book in all its forms, from clay tablets to the electronic book. Highlights the inventors, engineers, and entrepreneurs who created the machinery of production and dissemination. For adults.

Breaking into Print: Before and After the Printing Press.
Krensky, Stephen. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1996.
Describes the nature of books before the development of the printing press and the subsequent effect of that invention on civilization. For children and young adults.

The History and Power of Writing.
Martin, Henri Jean, and Lydia G. Cochrane (translator). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Examines forms and structures of writing throughout history, from as far back as the earliest efforts of ancient civilizations to medieval language studies. For adults.

The Smithsonian Book of Books.
Olmert, Michael. New York, NY: Wings Books, 1995.
Includes information on the history of books and the evolution of the printing industry, libraries, medieval illumination and modern illustration, the book trade, and methods of book conservation. For adults.

The History of Making Books: From Clay Tablets, Papyrus Rolls, and Illuminated Manuscripts to the Printing Press.
New York, NY: Scholastic Trade, 1996.
Tells the story of the written word, from hieroglyphics to electronic libraries. Photographic illustrations and film overlays help exemplify the processes of illuminating a manuscript or printing by color separation. For children and young adults.

Back to top

Infinite Secrets
Library Resource Kit

Infinite Secrets Web Site Content
Contemplating Infinity

Contemplating Infinity
Philosophically, the concept remains a mind-bender.

Working with Infinity

Working with Infinity
Mathematicians have become increasingly comfortable with the concept.

Great Surviving Manuscripts

Great Surviving Manuscripts
Ancient documents offer a tantalizing glimpse of lost cultures.

The Archimedes Palimpsest

The Archimedes Palimpsest
Follow the 1,000-year-long journey of the Archimedes manuscript.

Approximating Pi

Approximating Pi
See Archimedes' geometrical approach to estimating pi.

Send feedback Image credits
NOVA Home Find out what's coming up on air Listing of previous NOVA Web sites NOVA's history Subscribe to the NOVA bulletin Lesson plans and more for teachers NOVA RSS feeds Tell us what you think Program transcripts Buy NOVA videos or DVDs Watch NOVA programs online Answers to frequently asked questions

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site