Archimedes

Archimedes

|Greek
date of birth : c. 287 BC | date of death : c. 212 BC
Born in 384 B.C, Greece, philosopher, Aristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Their influences extended into the Renaissance and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics.

Birth, Birthplace, Time of birth:

Aristotle was born in the Macedonian city of Stagirus, in 384 BCE.

Father’s name: Phidias
Mother’s name: -
Brother:-
Sister:-
Spouse: -
Children: -

Life events:

Early life

Aristotle, Greek Aristoteles (384 —322 BC), ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, was one of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history. Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Stagirus, in Northern Greece on the Chalcidic peninsula. His father, Nicomachus was doctor by profession and his mother name was Phaestis. Phaestis hometown was Chalcis in Euboea. There is no reference whether the medical skills of his father were passed on to Aristotle. But it is likely that Nicomachus would have wanted Aristotle to become a doctor like him. Unhappy with the living conditions in his area, Nicomachus traveled to Macedonia and became a court physician to King Amyntas of Macedonia. It is not known whether Aristotle lived with his father Nicomachus while he served King Amyntas, in Pella, capital of Macedonia. But it a true fact, that he was sociable, with the Kings' son Philip, who was about his same age. Nicomachus died when Aristotle was about the age of 10. So it virtually impossible to think that Aristotle could have become a medical practitioner as his mother had also died young. After his parents died, Proxenus (said to be his uncle) became his guardian. As his guardian Proxenus also became his teacher and educated him on Greek, rhetoric, and poetry.

Association of Aristotle and plato

In his teenage years, Proxenus admitted Aristotle in Plato's academy. Here Aristotle and Plato's long association as a student and teacher set off. When Aristotle first joined the academy Plato was not present there. His students, Eudoxus of Cnidos, ran it. Speusippus, Plato's nephew, and Xenocrates of Chalcedon also taught there. Aristotle was a very extraordinary student. As soon as he finished his education, he became a part of the faculty there. He taught there for about 20 years educating about rhetoric and dialogue. Why he didn't become Plato's successor after his death, the question remains a little uncertain. Some say that Speusippus took over the academy as Plato's nephew after his death in 347 BC. Other version is that Speusippus and Plato's views clashed on most of the topics and he couldn't work alongside Speusippus. While another reason is, his childhood friend King Philip of Macedonia request to come and teach his son Alexander (who later became Alexander the Great).

Personal life

When Aristotle left Athens he traveled to Assos along with Xenocrates of Chalcedon. King Hermias of Assos welcomed Aristotle to his land. Here he married Pythias who was the adopted daughter of Hermias. Pythias gave birth to a daughter who was also named Pythias. About after 10 years of marriage Pythias died. Pythias is known to be much younger to Aristotle, about the age of 18 when the married.

Aristotle as philosopher

Aristotle became a chief to a group of philosophers when he was in Assos. Along with them, he collected observations on zoology and biology, a skill, which was passed down by his father. When the Persians attacked Assos, King Hermias was caught and put to death. Aristotle fled to Macedonia, which was ruled by his friend King Philip. King Philip succeeded his older brother Perdiccas, when he was killed in a war. He was an able king and skillful ruler. Philip's enmity with Athens's may have leaded to Aristotle removal from Athens. He stayed in Macedonia for about 7 years where he taught Philip's son, Alexander (who later became 'Alexander the Great'). Macedonia and Athens had a peace treaty signed between them in 346 BC. But the treaty started to fall apart in 340 BC. In Plato's academy, when elections were held due to Speusippus's death, Xenocrates won instead of Aristotle. Due to this Philip lost his interest in Aristotle. Aristotle returned to his hometown of Stagirus, where he remarried Herpyllis. Herpyllis bore him a son, which was named Mytilene. After King Philip died Alexander succeeded him. He followed the same strategy regarding Athens as his father. While he did support Plato's academy he also encouraged Aristotle to set up his own institution. Aristotle then founded a school called Lyceum in Athens where he taught for the next 12 years. Most of his works were created in this period in Athens of which today only fragments survive. He is said to have given two types of lectures: detailed discussions in morning to advanced students and in the evening, short discourses for general people. He studied and educated his students on a variety of topics, which included logic, physics, astronomy, meteorology, zoology, metaphysics, theology, psychology, politics, economics, ethics, rhetoric, and poetics. There is some argument whether all Aristotle's works were really written by him. But the counter argument is that the style of writing does change as the person matures and his beliefs change.

Death

After the death of Alexander in 232 BC, anti- Macedonian sentiments flared up in Athens and Aristotle was held for impiety. But he managed to escape to Chalcis in Euboea, his mother's city. He died there within a year because of stomach troubles; in 323 B.C. at that time he was 62 years of age. At the time of his death, he left a will wherein he wished to be buried next to his wife.

Education:

Archimedes studied in the learning capital of Alexandria, Egypt, at the school that had been established by the Greek mathematician Euclid (third century B.C.E.).

Occupation and Career:

Archimedes was the most famous mathematician and inventor of ancient Greece.
Archimedes performed numerous geometric proofs using the rigid geometric formalism outlined by Euclid, excelling especially at computing areas and volumes using the method of exhaustion. He was especially proud of his discovery for finding the volume of a sphere, showing that it is two thirds the volume of the smallest cylinder that can contain it. At his request, the figure of a sphere and cylinder was engraved on his tombstone. In fact, it is often said that Archimedes would have invented calculus if the Greeks had only possessed a more tractable mathematical notation. By inscribing and circumscribing polygons on a circle, for instance, he was able to constrain the value of (pi) between 3 10/71 and 3+1/7. Archimedes was also an outstanding engineer, formulating Archimedes' principle of buoyancy and the law of the lever. Legend has it that Archimedes discovered his principle of buoyancy, which states that the buoyancy force is equal to the weight of the liquid displaced, while taking a bath, upon which he is supposed to have run naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting "Eureka!" (I have found it). Archimedes is also purported to have invented the Archimedean screw. Some of Archimedes's geometric proofs were actually motivated by mechanical arguments which led him to the correct answer. During the Roman siege of Syracuse, he is said to have single-handedly defended the city by constructing lenses to focus the Sun’s light on Roman ships and huge cranes to turn them upside down. When the Romans finally broke the siege, Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier after snapping at him "Don't disturb my circles," a reference to a geometric figure he had outlined on the sand.

Discoveries and Inventions:

  • Provided Archimedes' Principle (method of measuring volume of an object with an irregular shape)
  • Provided rigorous explanation of the principle involved in lever
  • Designed block and tackle pulley systems
  • Designed Archimedes screw
  • Designed Claw of Archimedes (a ship-attacking machine)
  • Improved the power and accuracy of catapult
  • Invented odometer (cart with a gear mechanism), during the First Punic War
  • Invented burning glass or Archimedes heat ray (alleged)

Contributions to Mathematics:

  • Used infinitesimals in a way, similar to modern integral calculus
  • Used Method of Exhaustion
  • Proved that area of a circle is equal to π multiplied by the square of its radius (πr2)
  • Gave the value of the square root of 3 as being more than 265/153 (approx 1.7320261) and less than 1351/780 (approx 1.7320512)
  • Proved that the area enclosed by a parabola and a straight line is 4/3 multiplied by the area of a triangle with equal base and height
  • Calculated the number of grains of sand that the universe could contain
  • Proved that the volume and surface area of the sphere are two thirds that of the cylinder, including its bases

Awards /Honors:

Generally regarded as the greatest mathematician and scientist of antiquity and one of the three greatest mathematicians of all time (together with Isaac Newton (English 1643-1727) and Carl Friedrich Gauss (German 1777-1855).

Books:

  • Method Concerning Mechanical Theorems
  • On the Sphere and Cylinder
  • Measurement of the Circle
  • On Conoids and Spheroids
  • On the Equilibrium of Planes
  • Quadrature of the Parabola
  • The Sand-Reckoner
  • On Floating Bodies

Death, place of death, Time of death, place of burial:

Archimedes died in 212 B.C.(aged around 75) in Syracuse, Sicily Greek. A tomb discovered in a hotel courtyard in Syracuse in the early 1960s was claimed to be that of Archimedes, but its location today is unknown.

Legacy:

  • The ‘Fields Medal’ carries a portrait of Archimedes
  • A crater on the Moon is named Archimedes
  • A lunar mountain range is named the Montes Archimedes
  • Asteroid 3600 Archimedes is named after him
  • Postage stamps issued by East Germany (1973), Greece (1983), Italy (1983), Nicaragua (1971), San Marino (1982), and Spain (1963) have the picture of Archimedes
  • ‘Eureka!’ an exclamation by Archimedes, is the state motto of California
  • US state of Oregon has named a movement, for civic engagement targeting universal access to health care, as "Archimedes Movement"

Quotes and Memoirs:

  • Give me a fulcrum on which to rest, and I will move the earth.
  • Those who claim to discover everything but produce no proofs of the same may be confuted as having actually pretended to discover the impossible.
  • Stand away, fellow, from my diagram.
  • Give me a place to stand on, and I can move the earth.
  • If I was given another earth, I would cross over to it and move this one.
  • There are some, King Gelon, who think that the number of the sand is infinite in multitude…

[A quotation by Plutarch about Archimedes:]
... being perpetually charmed by his familiar siren, that is, by his geometry, he neglected to eat and drink and took no care of his person; that he was often carried by force to the baths, and when there he would trace geometrical figures in the ashes of the fire, and with his finger draws lines upon his body when it was anointed with oil, being in a state of great ecstasy and divinely possessed by his science. Quoted in G Simmons Calculus Gems (New York 1992).
Any solid lighter than a fluid will, if placed in the fluid, be so far immersed that the weight of the solid will be equal to the weight of the fluid displaced. On floating bodies I, prop 5.
Archimedes to Eratosthenes greeting. ... certain things first became clear to me by a mechanical method, although they had to be demonstrated by geometry afterwards because their investigation by the said method did not furnish an actual demonstration. But it is of course easier, when we have previously acquired by the method, some knowledge of the questions, to supply the proof than it is to find it without any previous knowledge. The Method in The Works of Archimedes translated by T L Heath (Cambridge 1912)

References:
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com
http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com
http://www.nndb.com
http://www.bbc.co.uk
http://en.wikipedia.org