Mathematics

Archimedes | Father of Mathematics

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24 September 2020                

Read time: 2 minutes

Introduction

Ever wondered why is Archimedes so famous?

Archimedes is a renowned Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and inventor. He is often regarded as the greatest mathematician in ancient Greek history, the Father of Mathematics and one of the greatest of all time. He foresaw modern calculus and the use of infinitesimals for analysis. He used the method of exhaustion to prove numerous geometrical theorems,

He is also renowned for his approximation of pi and the Archimedes’ screw. He applied mathematics to physics, and as a result, founded hydrostatic and statics. Some of his other creations include compound pulleys, the screw pump, and a defense war machines to protect Syracuse from the Romans’ siege.

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How Archimedes spent his early life?

Archimedes was born in Syracuse, a city in Greece on the island of Sicily in 287BC. His father was Phidias, Phidias was an astronomer and mathematician. He was close to King Hiero II, king of Syracuse; it is believed that he was related to the king. In his childhood, he expressed a passionate curiosity and an inclination to problem-solving.

After studying and learning from the scholars in Greece, he went to Alexandria in Egypt. He got reputed as a great scholar there. He then returned to Syracuse.


What did Archimedes’ invent?

King Heiro II asked Archimedes to design a luxury naval ship. A large part of his engineering work was from designing the vessel. The Syracusia is said to be the largest ship built in classical antiquity (8BC to 6AD). It could hold 600 people, a garden, a gymnasium, a temple for Aphrodite, amongst other facilities.

Due to the size of the vessel, a lot of water would enter through the hull. To get rid of this bilge water, Archimedes designed Archimedes’ screw. The Archimedes screw is used as a method of irrigation in developing countries even today. Archimedes’ screw is one of the many things invented by him.

Through his knowledge of geometry, Archimedes illustrated the principle of machines like the pulley, fulcrum, and lever that are used even today.

Archimedes’ Inventions


King Hiero’s Crown

King Hiero II had provided solid gold to a goldsmith. He wanted a new crown. On receiving the crown, King Hiero was suspicious and felt that the goldsmith might have replaced the gold with silver and kept some gold for himself. He asked Archimedes to figure out. Archimedes struggled for the answer.

One day, when he entered his bathtub, he noticed the water level rise. He then realized that he could measure the crown’s volume similarly. He would measure the water level’s displacement to calculate the volume on putting the crown in water. He knew that to calculate its density, he only needed the weight of the crown. On discovering this, he is said to have run on the streets of Syracuse naked screaming ‘EUREKA’, meaning I’ve found it.

King Hiero’s Crown


Defense against the Romans

King Hiero anticipated the attack of the Romans on Syracuse. He put Archimedes to work on strengthening the defense of the city and fortifying its walls. Along with this, Archimedes built war machines. The fort was set up so well that each move made by the Romans could be countered efficiently and effectively.

Massive beams attacked Roman ships that burned them down. The iron claw designed by Archimedes was like a forearm with a sizable grappling hook that latched onto the vessel and then lifted it to capsize it.

He successfully protected the city for 2 years against the Roman armies.

Archimedes to work on strengthening the defense


How was Archimedes assassinated?

The Romans finally penetrated the defense of Syracuse. In 212BC, the forces of Marcellus broke through the gates of Syracuse. Marcellus admired Archimedes and asked his soldiers to bring Archimedes back to him unharmed. Archimedes, at the time, was deeply engrossed in a math problem and had no idea.

When a soldier finally found him, he was asked to come to the king. Archimedes refused, the soldier furiously struck Archimedes, killing him. The assassination of Archimedes was a result of this soldier. Marcellus was deeply saddened and built a tombstone for Archimedes.

 

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Summary

Did you realise the contribution of Archimedes?

Archimedes, the Father of Maths has left behind a great legacy, and the modern world is greatly indebted to him for his pioneering work in mathematics, physics, and his great inventions. Archimedes is also responsible for the Archimedes Principle, the principle of buoyancy. Research into fluids, density, and volume lead to the creation of hydrostatics and statics.

This blog covers one of the Greatest Mathematicians’ life, work, and death, whose work has an acute impact on science and math even today.


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FAQs

What did Archimedes dicover?

In the 3rd Century BC, Archimedes: invented the sciences of mechanics and hydrostatics. He discovered the laws of levers and pulleys, which allow us to move heavy objects using small forces.

 What is Archimedes famous for?

He is most famous for discovering the law of hydrostatics, sometimes known as 'Archimedes' principle', stating that a body immersed in fluid loses weight equal to the weight of the amount of fluid it displaces. 


External References

 


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