The Early Years • Archimedes was born around 287 B.C. in Syracuse, a town in the Greek colony of Sicily. His father was the astronomer Phidias. • Archimedes was educated in Alexandria, Egypt. At that time, Alexandria was the intellectual capital of the world and Archimedes got the chance to study with many of the greatest minds in the Greek world. • As a boy he invented and built a planetarium that reproduced movement of the planets. This was one of his many early inventions that clearly indicated he was very gifted and unique.
Accomplishments • While in the bath tub he made one of his most famous discoveries. This was the principle of physics stating that each object has its own special density.
More Accomplishments • Archimedes had many inventions in his time. • : Archimedes Screw. Simple enough. He used a screw-like device to pump water out of a body of water into another container. • : Grappling cranes, catapults, and even giant mirrors that if reflected at an opposing ship, with the help of the sun, could start the other ship on fire. All these instruments helped defend his Native Syracuse against the Roman Empire.
Mathematical Contributions • His most famous contribution was the approximation of Pi. This helped builders with designs back then but not as much today. • His discovery of pi led him to the being able to find the area under the curve. This knowledge is a significant part of calculus which wasn’t invented for 2000 years.
More Mathematical Contributions… • Archimedes developed a system for counting large numbers. Now this doesn’t sound like a big accomplishment but the Greeks could not count to very due to the fact that they used letters for there numbers. Archimedes would challenge himself to solve a nearly impossible equation to the Greeks due to the size of the answer. Eventually he turned numbers into words in Greek that meant something along the lines of infinity to us today. The biggest number he named was 1 followed by 80 quadrillion zeros.
And more… • Archimedes claimed one of his greatest discoveries was that of finding the volume and surface area of a sphere. • This is a fairly big accomplishment seeing as how we have used these formulas for the last 2000 years.
Death • While drawing circles in the dust, a Roman soldier walks up and tells him to quit drawing and to come with him. Archimedes yells “Don’t disturb my circles” and is shortly after stabbed by the soldier. • On his gravestone was placed the drawing of a sphere inscribed by a cylinder and the 2:3 ratio between their volumes a solution he considered his greatest accomplishment.
To Sum It Up • “Archimedes is considered one of the three greatest mathematicians of all time along with Newton and Gauss. In his own time, he was known as "the wise one," "the master" and "the great geometer" and his works and inventions brought him fame that lasts to this very day. He was one of the last great Greek mathematicians.”
Bibliography • "Archimedes (c. 287 B.C.-212 B.C.)." DISCovering Biography. Online ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Discovering Collection. Gale. Mesa County Valley School District. 18 May. 2009 • Marine Subsea Group. 18 May 2009 <http://www.msgmarine.no/?div_id=15&pag_id=15>. • "Syracuse, Archimedes of (287 B.C.-212 B.C.)." Math and Mathematicians. Ed. Leonard C. Bruno. Detroit: UXL, 1999. Discovering Collection. Gale. Mesa County Valley School District. 18 May. 2009 <http://find.galegroup.com/srcx/infomark.do?&contentSet=GBRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T001&prodId=DC&docId=EK1669000003&source=gale&userGroupName=gran68706&version=1.0>. • Calinger, Ronald S. "Archimedes." World Book Student. 2009. [Place of access.] 19 May 2009 <http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar028620>.