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Archimedes(287 BC - 212 BC)

Stories behind Great Discoveries

'Eureka' or Archimedes and the Golden Crown

   Who was Archimedes?
   Who was Galileo?

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Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, scientist and engineer, who lived in the ancient Greek city-state of Syracuse.

Very little is known of his personal life. He was born about 287 BC in Syracuse. In one of his works, The Sand Reckoner, Archimedes says that his father was Phidias, an astronomer.

Except for a period spent in Alexandria, Egypt, where he studied under the followers of the mathematician Euclid, Archimedes spent his life in Syracuse. According to Plutarch, the ancient Greek historian and biographer, Archimedes was a distant cousin of Hiero II, the ruler of Syracuse. Hiero's long reign was a period of peace and stability in Syracuse, and gave Archimedes the opportunity to pursue his work in peace. Hiero often turned to Archimedes for advice on military and other matters.

Archimedes is regarded as the greatest mathematician and scientist of his age, though only a few of his writings have survived into modern times. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, there are only nine known extant treatises in Greek by Archimedes.

Of these treatises, five are of particular interest.

Read more...   Archimedes' writings

Archimedes cont'd...  next page

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See also:    'Eureka' - the story of Archimedes and the Golden Crown    |    Who was Galileo?

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Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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