Sometimes our best ideas come when we least expect them. For Greek mathematician Archimedes, this happened during a trip to the local baths. The king of Syracuse had put him in charge of finding out how to detect fraud in the manufacture of a golden crown. The king suspected his goldsmith was leaving out some of the gold and substituting it with silver.
In 1606, the bubonic plague returned to London. Two years earlier, it had killed 30,000 of its inhabitants. The plague hit like a hammer that winter. This time the city took no chances. It shut down on a massive scale. All the theaters closed. This was a bitter blow for playwrights and actors. Out of work and under house arrest, they had little to do but twiddle their thumbs and play the waiting game.