Archimedes of Syracuse
He is considered one of the greatest mathematicians in history. In fact, he is believed to be one of the three greatest mathematicians along with Isaac Newton and Carl Gauss. His greatest contributions to mathematics were in the area of Geometry. Archimedes was also an accomplished engineer and an inventor. He was believed to have been obsessed with Geometry though. Archimedes was born in Syracuse, Greece in 287 BC and died 212 BC after being killed by a Roman soldier who did not know who Archimedes was. He was the son of an astronomer: Phidias of whom we know nothing about. Archimedes received his formal education in Alexandria, Egypt which at the time was considered to be the 'intellectual center' of the world. When he completed his formal studies in Alexandria, he returned and stayed in Syracuse for the rest of his life. It is not known whether he ever married or had children. Contributions:
* Discovered how to find the volume of a sphere and determined the exact value of Pi. * Principle of Buoyancy. (It is believe that when he discovered the principle of Buoyancy, he went running through the streets naked shouting 'Eureka' - I have found it) * It is believed that he was actually the first to have invented integral calculus, 2000 years before Newton and Leibniz. * Powers of Ten, a way of counting that refers to the number of 0's in a number which eliminated the use of the Greek alphabet in the counting system. (Scientific Notation) * A formula to find the area under a curve, the amount of space that is enclosed by a curve.
| Approximately 330 B.C.
| Approximately 260 B.C.
There are no known records of the exact date or place of Euclid's birth, and little is known about his personal life. We do know that during the reign of Ptolemy I he taught mathematics in Alexandria, Egypt, at the Alexandria library or "Museum", and that he wrote the most enduring mathematical work of all time, the Stoicheia or Elements, a thirteen volume work. This comprehensive compilation of geometrical knowledge, based on the works of Thales, Pythagoras, Plato, Eudoxus, Aristotle, Menaechmus and others, was in common usage for over 2,000 years. An Arabian author, al-Qifti (d. 1248), recorded that Euclid's father was Naucrates and his grandfather was Zenarchus, that he was a Greek, born in Tyre and lived in Damascus. But there is no real proof that this is the same Euclid. In fact, another man, Euclid of Megara, a philosopher who lived at the time of Plato, is often confused with Euclid of Alexandria. Euclid is often referred to as the "Father of Geometry." It is probable that he attended Plato's Academy in Athens, received his mathematical training from students of Plato, and then came to Alexandria. Alexandria was then the largest city in the western world, and the center of both the papyrus industry and the book trade. Ptolemy had created the great library at Alexandria, which was known as the Museum, because it was considered a house of the muses for the arts and sciences. Many scholars worked and taught there, and that is where Euclid wrote The Elements. There is some evidence that Euclid also founded a school and taught pupils while he was in Alexandria. The Elements is divided into thirteen books which cover plane geometry, arithmetic and number theory, irrational numbers, and solid geometry. Euclid organized the known geometrical ideas, starting with simple definitions, axioms, formed statements called theorems, and set forth methods for logical proofs. He began with accepted mathematical truths, axioms and postulates, and demonstrated logically 467 propositions in plane and solid geometry. One of the proofs was for the theorem of Pythagoras, proving that the equation is always true for every right triangle. The Elements was the most widely used textbook of all time, has appeared in more than 1,000 editions since printing was invented, was...
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