Born in 287 B.C. at Syracuse, Sicily, Archimedes was an engineer,
physicist, and astronomer. Not only this, he was a notable scientist,
who invented a wide range of machines, when machines were a rarity.
One of the most famous mathematicians of all times, Archimedes
revolutionized the subject of geometry.
Though his exploits in the field of geometry, science, and physics
are widely famous, not much is known about his personal life,
as all records have been lost. He was so much in love with geometry
and his inventions that the last words he uttered were "Do
not disturb my circles."
He was killed in the Second Punic War by a Roman soldier against
the wishes of General Marcellus. Plutarch writes that Archimedes
was contemplating a mathematical diagram at the time of his death.
His tomb was engraved with the figure of a sphere and cylinder
as per his wish.
In the field of mathematics, Archimedes produced several theorems
that became widely known throughout the world. He is credited
with producing some of the principles of calculus long before
Newton and Leibniz. He worked out ways of squaring the circle
and computing areas of several curved regions. His interest in
mechanics is credited with influencing his mathematical reasoning,
which he used in devising new mathematical theorems. He proved
that the surface area and volume of a sphere are two-thirds that
of its circumscribing cylinder.
He is credited with the invention of Archimedes screw or screw
pump, which is a device used to raise the level of water from
a lower area to a higher elevation. He is known for the formulation
of Archimedes' principle, a hydrostatic principle stating that
an object in any liquid is buoyed by force equal to the weight
of fluid it displaces. Legend has it that he discovered the principle
of buoyancy while taking bath and following the discovery, he
ran naked shouting "Eureka, Eureka," meaning I have
Using the method of exhaustion, he was able to address irrational
numbers, such as square roots and Pi. He showed how to calculate
areas and tangents. His mastery of applied mathematics reflects
from his work on the Archimedes screw.
From his invention of war machines, such as parabolic mirrors,
Archimedes claw and death ray and complex lever systems, shows
that he played an important role in guarding Syracuse against
the siege laid by Romans. Though he could not save Syracuse from
being captured by General Marcus Claudius Marcellus and his Roman
forces in 212 B.C., his war machines might have delayed the capture.
Archimedes himself was killed when the city was captured by the
Undoubtedly, Archimedes was one of the most brilliant minds of
all times. His contributions in the field of geometry, science,
and physics truly reflect his genius. He wrote many treatises,
but only a few would survive the Middle Ages. Still his work and
fame live on.
Rumor Has It …
Archimedes was caught read handed, by his wife, wearing a chicken
hat on April Fool's Day inside a chicken coop pecking at some
grain yet laughing like a duck.
Written by Kevin Lepton