CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 89, NO. 4, 25 AUGUST 2005
*Based on the workshop sponsored by the De-
partment of Biotechnology, New Delhi, orga-
nized on 19–20 July 2005 at Jungle Resorts,
X-ray fluorescence imaging at
SSRL revealed the hidden text. This X-ray
iron map shows the lower left quadrant of
the page (Image taken at Stanford Linear
letters by comparing the layers of text
from the synchrotron images and from
the multi-spectral images.
According to Bergmann, the studies
using the X-ray technique have just begun
and should help to uncover the missing
25–30% of the text in the palimpsest
The work carried out so far has revealed
that Archimedes was the first Greek to
use infinity. The studies have also allowed
the first interpretation of Stomachion, a
treaty dealing with the number of ways a
problem can be solved which is used in
modern computation. The team, consisting
of researchers from Stanford, Rochester
Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins
University, and Rutgers University, has
plans to decipher and read the entire text,
catalog and transcribe it into a digital form.
1. Stein, S., Mathematical Association of
2. Usher, A. P., A History of Mechanical In-
ventions, Dover Publications, 1988.
3. Purchased in an auction for US$ 2 million
in 1998. The anonymous collector is also
involved in funding of the present studies.
4. Bergmann, U., unpublished work and per-
sonal communication; See also Nature,
2005, 435, 257.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. I thank Dr U.
Bergmann SLAC, Stanford University for his
valuable input, as well as making available
the figures used in the article.
Mrinalini G. Walawalkar (S. Ramase-
), C-137, IIT Quarters, Indian
Institute of Technology, Bombay, Powai,
Mumbai 400 076, India.
priority list of plants and insects*
Recovery of endangered and threatened species: Developing a national
Conservation of highly threatened and
critically endangered species demands a
systematic programme of recovering their
populations in the natural habitats so that
the declining trend in their numbers is
reversed. Such programmes should en-
sure that the population sizes and densi-
ties of the targeted species are enhanced
above the critical bottleneck levels such
that they become self sustained in repro-
duction and regeneration in nature. In
India, though there are good examples of
recovery of threatened species of large
mammals, threatened plants and inverte-
brates are generally neglected. In this
context, a two-day workshop was organized
at Bangalore for developing a National
Programme on Recovering Endangered
and Threatened species through biotech-
nological tools. During the meeting it
was recognized that while there are hun-
dreds of species that are endangered, it is
important to prioritize them so that the
plants and invertebrates
that demand immediate recovery pro-
gramme could be identified. In this con-
text, a preliminary list of plants (List A) and
insects (List B) has been developed in
consultation with Botanical Survey of
India and Zoological Survey of India for
We invite botanists, zoologists (ento-
mologists), conservation ecologists, field
workers and all others interested in the
conservation of species to comment on
this list. The comments may be structured
on the following issues:
1. List a maximum of 12 species (from
the list given here for plants and insects)
that you think need immediate recovery.
2. Provide reasons for your suggestions
based on the following parameters
(note that these details are important
for a final prioritization and hence need
to be provided for each of the spe-
cies): (a) Qualitative and/or quantita-
tive data on their distribution. (b)
Places where you have recorded/
observed them. (c) Any problems that
you foresee with its reproduction and
regeneration. (d) Whether you see
any need for biotechnological inter-
vention in their recovery programme.
(e) Whether there are any geo-type,
ecotype, varietal complexes you see
with the species. (f) Any other details.
3. Your name and address (you may be
referred to/invited for future discus-
Your response may be emailed to
email@example.com or mailed to K. N. Gane-
shaiah, School of Ecology and Conserva-
tion, University of Agricultural Sciences,
GKVK, Bangalore 560 065 or faxed to
KN Ganeshaiah, 080 2353 0070.
List A: Plants
Buchanania barberi Gamble
Nothopegia aureo-fulva Beddome
Nothopegia beddomei Gamble var. wyna-
adica Ellis & Chandra
Phaeanthus malabaricus Beddome
Popowia beddomeana Hook. f. & Thomson
Phoenix rupicola T. Anders.
Atuna travancorica (Beddome) Kosterm
Garcinia imbertii Bourd.
Hopea canarensis Hole
Vateria macrocarpa B.L. Gupta
Diospyros bourdillonii Brand.