In “Archimedes,” some folks at famousscientists.org write:
Archimedes was, arguably, the world’s greatest scientist – certainly the greatest scientist of the classical age.
He was a mathematician, physicist, astronomer, engineer, inventor, and weapons-designer. As we’ll see, he was a man who was both of his time and far ahead of his time.
Archimedes was born in the Greek city-state of Syracuse on the island of Sicily in approximately 287 BC. His father, Phidias, was an astronomer.
Archimedes may also have been related to Hiero II, King of Syracuse.
In the 3rd Century BC, Archimedes:
• invented the sciences of mechanics and hydrostatics.
• discovered the laws of levers and pulleys, which allow us to move heavy objects using small forces.
• invented one of the most fundamental concepts of physics – the center of gravity.
• calculated pi to the most precise value known. His upper limit for pi was the fraction 22⁄7. This value was still in use in the late 20th century, until electronic calculators finally laid it to rest.
• discovered and mathematically proved the formulas for the volume and surface area of a sphere.
• showed how exponents could be used to write bigger numbers than had ever been thought of before.
• proved that to multiply numbers written as exponents, the exponents should be added together.
• infuriated mathematicians who tried to replicate his discoveries 18 centuries later – they could not understand how Archimedes had achieved his results.
• directly inspired Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton to investigate the mathematics of motion. Archimedes’ surviving works (tragically, many have been lost) finally made it into print in 1544. Leonardo da Vinci was lucky enough to see some of the hand-copied works of Archimedes before they were eventually printed.
• was one of the world’s first mathematical physicists, applying his advanced mathematics to the physical world.
• was the first person to apply lessons from physics – such as the law of the lever – to solve problems in pure mathematics.
• invented war machines such as a highly accurate catapult that stopped the Romans conquering Syracuse for years. He may have done this by understanding the mathematics of projectile trajectory.”
“Archimedes.” Famous Scientists. famousscientists.org. 1 Jul. 2014. Web. 1/19/2021 <www.famousscientists.org/archimedes/>. Revised 18 Jul. 2018.