Archimedes of Syracuse, shortly known as just Archimedes, was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. He was born in c. 287 BCE, in Syracuse, Sicily Italy, and died sometime between 212-211 BCE in Syracuse.
He is definitely the most famous mathematician and inventor in ancient Greece. Why? For many reasons. To name one, he is responsible for the discovery of the relation between the surface and volume of a sphere and its circumscribing cylinder.
But he invented more things, making him the most prominent scientist in Classical Antiquity. He is also considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. And for this reason, he is believed to be a scientist way ahead of his time.
A Man Of Many Achievements
There’s not much information about Archimedes’ life. So far, we know he was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. He made important contributions in all these fields. To mention a few, he anticipated modern calculus and analysis.
He used geometrical theorems to make all his discoveries: the area of a circle; the surface area and volume of a sphere; the area of an ellipse; the area under a parabola; among many others. He defined the spiral that today takes his name: the Archimedean spiral.
Besides, he was the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena, which led him to discover and founding hydrostatics and statics. And if that’s not enough, he designed the screw pump, the compound pulleys, and many defensive war machines to protect his hometown from invasions such as the catapult, the iron hand, and the death ray.
The Other Side Of The Story
No wonder he is considered the father of simple machines. One of his best-known inventions is definitely the Archimedes Screw. It was first designed by the ancient Egyptians and used to raise water from a lower to a higher level. But Archimedes saw an opportunity and improved the invention.
The improvement was such that even today the Archimedes screw is still used in developing countries as a method of irrigation and as a tool to lift loose foods, like grains.
Archimedes died at age 75 when he was captured by Roman forces. People believe he was solving a math problem when he was captured and killed by a Roman soldier. A legend says his last words were “do not disturb my circles”, which allegedly refer to his mathematical discoveries. His tomb was surmounted by a sphere and a cylinder to honor his great mathematical life.