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Background:

Archimedes of Syracuse (pronounced ar-ka-meed-eez) 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.

Famous Quote:

"Eureka"
Apparently when taking a bath, he discovered the buoyancy principle and jumped up and ran through the streets naked shouting 'Eureka' which means - I have found it.

Recommended Reads :

Archimedes: By Susan Keating
An easy to read, 31 page book with adequate illustrations to give you a synopsis of what is know about the life and discoveries of Archimedes of Syracuse.
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The Works of Archimedes
This is an unabridged republication of The Works of Archimedes (1897) and The Method of Archimedes (1912). Both works were edited by Thomas Little Heath. This book is the best source of the complete works of Archimedes in English
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Archimedes: What Did He Do Besides Cry Eureka?
An interesting read consisting of 155 pages in paperback. Includes numerous helpful illustrations and a very useful bibliography.
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