Archimedes was a Greek mathematician and
scientist. He was born in Syracuse, Sicily in the year 287 B.C. He was
educated in Alexandria, Egypt. Due to the lack of information about Greek
mathematics, many Greek mathematicians and their works are hardly known.
Archimedes is the exception. Archimedes was very preoccupied with mathematics.
For instance, he often forgot to eat and bathe because of his always wanted
to solve problems.
He found areas and volumes of spheres,
cylinders and plain shapes. He showed that the volume of a sphere is two-thirds
of the volume of the smallest cylinder that can contain the sphere. Archimedes
was so proud of this concept that he requested that a cylinder enclosed
a sphere, with an explanation of this concept, be engraved on his grave.
Archimedes also gave a method for approximating pi. He was able to estimate
the value of pi between 3 10/71 and 3 1/7. Math wasn’t as sophisticated
enough to find out the exact pi (3.14). Archimedes was finding square roots
and he found a method based on the Greek myriad for representing numbers
as large as 1 followed by 80 million billion zeros.
One of Archimedes accomplishments was his
creation of the lever and pulley system. Archimedes proved his theory of
the lever and pulley to the king by moving a ship, of the royal fleet,
back into the ocean. Then, Archimedes moved the ship into the sea with
only a few movements of his hand, which caused a lever and pulley device
to move the ship. This story has become famous because Archimedes said,
“Give me a place to stand on and I will move the earth. Another invention
he invented was the Archimedean screw. This machine was built for raising
water to highland areas in Egypt that could not receive water directly
from the Nile River. This device is still used today for irrigation purposes
even is some countries today.
The most famous story of Archimedes life
involves the discovery of Archimedes’ Principle. The story begins when
King Hieron asking a goldsmith to construct a gold wreath to the immortal
gods. After some time, the king came to suspect that the wreath was not
pure gold but rather filled with silver. In order to end his suspicion,
the king asked Archimedes to determine whether the wreath was pure gold
or filled with gold without destroying it. Archimedes agreed to try to
solve the king’s problem. Then one day, while he was taking a bath, Archimedes
noticed that the water level rose in the bath as he entered the water.
Archimedes was so excited by this discovery that he jumped out of his bath
and ran naked through the streets yelling, “Eureka, Eureka!!” meaning,
I have found it. Archimedes had discovered that a body immersed in a fluid
displaces its weight of fluid. This principle in turn helped Archimedes
prove that the gold wreath was not solid gold.
Archimedes was probably most famous during
the time he lived because he developed techniques defenses for Syracuse
against the Romans. Syracuse was able to hold off the invasion for three
years due to Archimedes’s inventions. He invented catapults, which hurled
blocks of stone, and cranes, which dropped large stones on approaching
ships. Also, he developed scaling ladders, which helped soldiers climb
over enemy walls. Archimedes can use mirrors to reflect sunlight on the
adversarial ships burning them.
The Romans finally invaded Syracuse and
overtook the city Archimedes was drawing circles in the dirt. When a soldier
commanded Archimedes to surrender, Archimedes instead drew his sword and
told the soldier that he wanted to finish the proof he was working on before
surrendering. The soldier became angry and killed Archimedes. This shows
that Archimedes was so committed to his expertise that he took the chance
to dying in order to work on his last problem. Archimedes was so thoughtful
with the study of math, and because of it, it led to many important discoveries
and principles for us today.
What helped me the most were encyclopedias,
books and the Internet. I think I got enough information to basically point
out the general account of it. I can’t really think of anything I can do
differently. I learned that Archimedes was a very significant man of his
time that was perfected pi, his principles and his inventions. He was far
beyond any man’s thinking capabilities.