All this book amounts to is an almost slapstick rendition of all the old Archimedes legends. ""Fat, jolly"" King Heiro II plays straight man as Archimedes runs naked through Syracuse, talks about lifting the world with a lever, and makes fools of the Romans with his war machines. His discoveries and inventions are given the most cursory coverage. The only explanation that is included is in an addendum which describes the method that Archimedes used to find out whether the King's crown was pure gold. There is also a long definition of curcka. The author is on the staff of Scientific American and should have been able to do better by his audience.