Quadrivial Pursuit: Math, Mechanics, and Music in the Ancient World

See ancient robots, read about water organs, and attempt to square the circle! (Spoiler: You can't do that last one.) Come explore the contributions of the ancient world to mathematics, astronomy, engineering, and music.
Harkness Travel - Greece
Harkness Travel - Greece

Working with Atlas Workshops, Lawrenceville students are invited to explore the world of the exact sciences according to the ancients! The classical Greek poleis built upon the mathematical and astronomical edifice of earlier civilizations and added their own novel achievements. As we travel around Greece, we will read excerpts and solve problems from Euclid’s Elements, the “first geometry book” and the historical keystone of deductive mathematics. We will explore museums that house mechanical wonders like the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient handheld tellurian and astronomical calculator, and discuss the theories underlying our modern reconstructions of its gearbox. We will read translated Ancient Greek texts on the topics of syzygies, pipe organs, and mechanical robots. In addition to Greece’s historical importance in the sciences, we will appreciate the Greece of today for its food, its music and dance, and its modern inhabitants. If you are interested in the history of mathematics and its connections to harmonics, engineering, and the stars, then join us in Greece!


Harkness Travel - Greece
Harkness Travel - Greece

Our journey will first take us to the small coastal town of Nafplio, nestled between its fishing docks and a Venetian fortress atop a hill. Throughout the trip, we will visit sites quintessential to Greek history and cultural identity, such as Mycenae’s temple complex and beehive tomb, as well as the acoustically masterful Theater of Epidaurus. An overnight ferry ride will bring us to Crete, where we will learn about rural village life, meet a local math teacher, visit the Minoan temple complex at Knossos, and see the enigmatic Phaistos Disc. We will end our visit in Athens, the historical home of numerous astronomers and philosophers. In addition to the locations where Plato’s Academy, Aristotle’s Lyceum, and Meton’s astronomical observatory (the oldest known) once stood, we will see Andronicus of Cyrrhus’s “Tower of the Winds” horologion, the Antikythera mechanism, and numerous reconstructions of classical Greek automata.


Sign-Up Instructions

Participation for all Lawrenceville Harkness Travel Programs is dependent upon a review of student applications, Head of House/Advisor recommendations, medical clearance for participation, and financial and disciplinary standing. Seniority and gender balance is also considered in the selection process.
Application to this program is not considered complete until both of the following items have been submitted:
Head of House / Day Advisor Recommendation must be completed and submitted to Louise Wright by Monday, October 30, 2023.
Application Survey must be completed by Monday, October 30, 2023.


March 1 - 13, 2024



Includes all ground transportation, flights, meals, accommodations, and any required non-routine vaccines. Families will receive a list of all MANDATORY vaccines. All travelers must be up-to-date on routine vaccines; if routine vaccines are administered on campus, families will be charged. If the participant has received any of the mandatory vaccines, documentation must be provided to the Health and Wellness Center no later than December 15, 2023.

Target Student Population

This trip is open to all students.

Students should expect to be active each day with a lot of walking inside museums and around archaeological sites.

Program Leaders

Anton Fleissner
Math Teacher
Veronica McMahon
Math Teacher
David Wilcox
Math Teacher

Pre-Trip Work

Prior to our trip, we will have 3–5 mandatory meetings for all students traveling with this program. [dates TBA]

Student Expectations

Click Here to View the Greece Spring Break 2024 Packing List

Passports MUST be valid through October 15, 2024; if the passport will expire before that date students should apply for a replacement as soon as possible.

Location Info