Archimedes

(287-212B.C.)

by David Wehner

 

 

              Archimedes is an interesting mathematician.   He invented many different things during his lifetime.   A lot of the things Archimedes invented are still used somewhat today.

              Archimedes was born in 287 B.C. in Syracuse, a Greek seaport.   Syracuse is located in Sicily.   Archimedes's father, Phidias, was an astronomer.    A lot of Archimedes's works were lost or burnt so we do not know who Archimedes's mother was, the number of brothers and sisters he had, and if he was married or not.   Archimedes studied at Euclid's school in Alexandria.

              Some influential people in Archimedes's life were Euclid, Conon of Samos, King Hiero, king of Syracuse, and Gelon, King Hiero's son.   Euclid taught Archimedes about geometry.   King Hiero had Archimedes solve a lot of problems for him.   One of the problems that Archimedes had to solve for King Hiero was Hiero wanted to know if his crown was solid gold or if it had some silver in it.   Archimedes used buoyancy to solve that problem.  

              Archimedes was a mathematician and an inventor.   He invented such things as the Archimedes screw, the compound pulley and the lever.   Some of his mathematical contributions are that he discovered , pi and the relation of the surface area and volume of a sphere to its circumscribing cylinder.

Archimedes invention, the compound pulley, could be used to pull ships on land and lift heavy objects with ease.   The pulley looked like this:

Archimedes invention, the Archimedes's screw, was used to remove water from the hold of a large ship. The Archimedes's screw looked like this:

 

 

Archimedes also invented the burning mirror which was a weapon used in war.   He used the mirror to keep the Romans out of Syracuse for a long time during a war.   A picture of Archimedes using the mirror looked like this:

              Archimedes found thirteen different geometric figures.   Some of those many different geometric figures are displayed here.

              Archimedes died in Syracuse, Sicily, in 212 B.C. at the age of 75.   There is no real explanation on how he died, but it is said he was killed in the capture of Syracuse by the Romans.   The reason that he is said to have died is that when a soldier came and stepped on a problem Archimedes was working on Archimedes snapped at the soldier and the soldier then killed him.

              An odd thing about Archimedes is that it is said that he postponed the capture of Syracuse by using mirrors to focus the sun on the Roman ships and using huge cranes to turn the ships over.   Archimedes discovered buoyancy while taking a bath so then he ran around town naked shouting because he discovered buoyancy.

              Archimedes had nicknames such as, “the wise one”, “the master”, and “the great geometer.”

Here is a manuscript of Archimedes sold at an auction.

Manuscript sold for $2m at auction in 1998

                  Archimedes did many more things that I had no idea he did.   Hopefully you now know more stuff about Archimedes too like the inventions he invented.

 

 

Works Cited

http://www.crystalinks.com/Archimedes.html

http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Archimedes.html

http://www.shu.edu/projects/reals/history/archimed.html

http://www.mcs.drexel.edu/~crorres/Archimedes/contents/html

http://www.mcs.drexel.edu/~crorres/Archimedes/Pictures/ArchimedesPictures.html