Pythagoras and His Contributions to the Math World

Although Pythagoras was not the best known Greek mathematician, he made many contributions to the way we use math today. Pythagoras is credited with inventing the Pythagorean theorem. He also founded the Pythagorean brotherhood. Pythagoras also invented a lot of number patterns. Plato and Aristotle were influenced by Pythagoras’s way of thinking. Also, he was a Greek religious leader who made huge developments in math that may have Pythagoras of Samos is often described as the first pure mathematician. He is an extremely important figure in the development of modern mathematics et we know relatively few facts of his life.

We are not exactly sure of his birth Pythagoras was born in about 569 BC in Samos, Ionia. He died in about 475 BC but his death place is not known. Little is known of Pythagoras’s childhood. All accounts of his physical appearance seem to be false except the description of a birthmark which he had on his thigh. Pythagoras’s father was Mnesarchus who was a merchant from Tyre. There is a story told that Mnesarchus brought corn to Samos at a time of famine and was granted citizenship of Samos as a mark of gratitude. Pythagoras’s mother was Pythais Pythagoras took many trips in his life.

His first came when he was only a child. He visited Italy with his father. In about 535 BC Pythagoras went to Egypt. This happened a few years after the Tyrant Polycrates seized control of Samos. There is evidence to suggest that Pythagoras and Polycrates were friends at first but when Polycrates abandoned his alliance with Egypt and attacked it, their friendship abruptly ended. Soon after Polycrates death, Pythagoras returned to Samos. Pythagoras invented many theorems. Probably his most popular heorem is the Pythagorean Theorem.

This is used for a right angled triangle. This theorem enables you to find the length of the third side of a right triangle when only knowing the length of two sides. This is considered his most important Pythagoras also invented the five regular solids. It is thought that Pythagoras himself knew how to construct the first three but it is unlikely that he knew how to construct the other two. Pythagoras also founded a philosophical and religious school in Croton (now Crotone, on the east of the heal of southern Italy) that had many followers.

Pythagoras was the head of the society with an inner circle of followers known as mathematikoi. The mathematikoi lived permanently with the Society, had no personal possessions and were vegetarians. They were taught by Pythagoras himself and obeyed strict rules. The beliefs that Pythagoras held were: (1) At its deepest level, reality is mathematical in nature, (2) Philosophy can be used for spiritual purification, (3) The soul can rise to union with the divine, (4) Certain symbols have a mystical significance, and (5) All brothers of the order should observe strict loyalty and secrecy.

This society defined figurate numbers to be the number of dots in certain geometrical configurations (Mathematical Structures for Computer Science, Pg. 145). Of Pythagoras’s actual work nothing is known. His school practiced secrecy and communalism making it hard to distinguish between the work of Pythagoras and that of his followers. Certainly his school made outstanding contributions to mathematics, and it is possible to be fairly certain about some of Pythagoras’s mathematical contributions. Pythagoras’s accomplishments have changed the math world tremendously and his contributions to the math world


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