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Who's Who Ancient Greece: Inventor, engineer, mathematician, astronomer

Archimedes 287-212 BC)

Another ancient Greek first

Known mostly as the greatest inventor of ancient Greece, Archimidhis was also an engineer, mathematician, astronomer. It was also he who founded theoretical mechanics.

Born in Syracuse (southern Italy, or Magna Graecia), he died during the capture of that city and the massacre of its populace by the Roman army. It is believed that he was the son of the astronomer Pheidias, a pupil of Euclid, that he travelled to Egypt, studied in Alexandria, then returned to Syracuse where he wrote most of his works, which are said to have foreshadowed the works of both Newton and Leibnitz.

Some of his best known inventions was the screw for raising water, a device for transferring heavy loads, and war machines, which he developed to aid in reinforcing the defenses of Syracuse against the Romans.

Many of his mathematical writings have survived, which exhibit the great range of his studies and experiments in the fields mentioned above. He was a major pioneer in the field of mathematics.

A listing of some of the titles of his treatises will give an idea of the scope of his work: 'On Spirals', 'On Floating Bodies', 'On the Equilibrium of Planes or the Centers of Gravity of Planes', 'Measurement of theCircle'.


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