Pythagoras usually referred to as the first pure mathematician
who was born on the Samos Island, in Greece in 569 BC. His father's
name was Mnesarchus and was a gem merchant. His mother's name
was Pythais. He had two or three brothers. There has been a lot
of saying about Pythagoras, some historians say that he was married
to a woman who's named as Theano and had a daughter named as Damo,
and also a son named Telauges, who further succeeded Pythagoras
as a teacher and taught Empedocles.
Some others say that Theano was not his wife, but one of his
students, and that Pythagoras was never married and hence had
no children. He was well educated, and played the lyre throughout
his lifetime. He also knew poetry and recited Homer. Pythagoras
was very much interested in mathematics, astronomy, music and
philosophy, and was greatly influenced by Thales for mathematics
and astronomy, Pherekydes for philosophy and Anaximander for philosophy
and geometry. He left Samos in about 535 B.C. for Egypt to study
with the priests in the temples.
Pythagoras' contributions to math and science:
When Pythagoras went to southern Italy, in 512 B. C., there he
tried to use his symbolic method for teaching which was very similar
in all respects to the lessons that he had learnt in Egypt. The
Samians treated him in a rude and improper manner as they were
not very keen on this method. This was the reason which led Pythagoras
to leave Samos. He was dragged into all kinds of diplomatic missions
by the citizens of Samos, and he was forced to participate in
the public affairs. After this Pythagoras founded a religious
and philosophical school in Croton (now known as Crotone) that
led to many followers.
Pythagoras was the head of this society. There was an inner circle
of followers which was known as mathematikoi. These mathematikoi
lived permanently with the Society. They had no personal possessions
and they were vegetarians. Both women and men were permitted to
become members of this Society. The outer circle of followers
of the Society was known as the akousmatics. They on contrary
to the mathematikoi lived in their own houses, and come to the
Society only during the day. They were also allowed to own their
own possessions and were not vegetarians.
Pythagoras' contribution towards Pythagorean Theorem:
Pythagoras has been given credit for discovering the Pythagorean
Theorem, since the fourth century AD. This is a theorem in geometry
which states that the area of the square on the hypotenuse i.e.
the side opposite to the right angle, in a right-angled triangle
is equal to the sum of areas of the squares of base and the height
i.e. the other two sides corresponding to the right angle of the
This means if 'a' and 'b' are the two sides corresponding to
the angle that is 90°, and 'c' is the side opposite to the
right angle then this means the Pythagoras Theorem states that
a2 + b2 = c2.
This theorem was previously utilized by the Indians and the Babylonians.
Pythagoras and his students was said to have constructed the first
proof. But due to the secretive nature of Pythagoras' school and
the tradition of the students to attribute everything towards
their teacher, there's no evidence that Pythagoras himself had
worked on or proved this theorem. But since it was first discovered
by Pythagoras, hence the Theorem is named after him, although
the theorem occurred even five centuries after his death, in the
writings of Plutarch and Cicero.
Rumor Has It …
… that the Pythagorean hypotenuse started off as a hippopotamus
triangulated by two moose outside the Bronx zoo creating the first
hippopotanuse moose in history.
Written by Kevin Lepton