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Eureka! or Archimedes and the Golden Crown continued

Stories behind Great Discoveries

'Eureka' or Archimedes and the Golden Crown

   Who was Archimedes?
   Who was Galileo?







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Hiero was furious to learn that he might have been tricked. But he was a fair-minded man and wished to determine the truth before he punished the goldsmith.

If the goldsmith had indeed cheated him and mixed silver into the gold, then the goldsmith would have to be punished, and the crown could no longer be given as an offering to the gods. But if the goldsmith had been honest, then the crown remained what it had been intended to be, a sacred offering, and it would be placed in the temple as planned. So it was important that Hiero find out the truth quickly, before the day fixed for the ceremony, and without damaging the crown in any way.

Hiero believed there was only one man in Syracuse capable of discovering the truth and solving his problem. This was his cousin, Archimedes, a young man of 22, who was already renowned for his work in mathematics, mechanics and physics.

Deep in thought, pondering how best to solve the king's problem, Archimedes walked to the public baths for his daily bath. Still thinking about the golden crown, he went through the rituals of cleansing and washing, and stepped into a tub of cool water for his final dip. As he began to lower himself into the water, the water in the tub began to spill out over the sides. Curious, Archimedes continued to lower himself slowly into the water, and he noticed that the more his body sank into the water, the more water ran out over the sides of the tub. He realised that he had found the solution to Hiero's problem.

He was so excited by his discovery that he jumped out of the tub at once, and ran all the way home without remembering to put his clothes on, and shouting 'Eureka, Eureka!' - which in Greek means, 'I have found it! I have found it!'

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See also:    Who was Archimedes?    |    Who was Galileo?

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