Archimedes was a famous Sicilian Astronomer, born in Syracuse, Sicily in 287 BC. He, early on in his life, invented a device called the Archimedes Screw, which was a helix shaped device that when put in water and rotated allowed the water to travel up the tube. One of his great friends was Conon of Sanos, with whome he confided and held high regard for. Little is known about Archimedes because the only details known about him are the exerpts from other stories told by other people.

    Archimedes was related to King Hieron II, and can be proven so as stated in an exerpt by Plutarch. ("Archimedes ... in writing to King Hiero, whose friend and near relation he was...."). Known not for his mathmatical genius during that time, he was best known for the battle machines that he created. Gigantic rock hurling catapults and force driven spikes are a couple of his inventions that are listed. He did not build this because he was bored but because King Hieron requested it of him and he built them for the protection of his country.

    Although he designed war machines, his true spirit lay in mathmatics. His fascination with geometry can be seen in this, which was described by Plutarch, "Oftimes Archimedes' servants got him against his will to the baths, to wash and anoint him, and yet being there, he would ever be drawing out of the geometrical figures, even in the very embers of the chimney. And while they were anointing of him with oils and sweet savours, with his fingers he drew lines upon his naked body, so far was he taken from himself, and brought into ecstasy or trance, with the delight he had in the study of geometry." This is a clear demonstration of the love that Archimedes had for this field of math.

    Archimedes is known today as one of the best and most intelligent mathmaticians that lived. He set the standards for integration and laid the foundation for great minds such as Kepler, Cavalieri, Fermat, Leibniz and Newton. By using the method of exhaustion (the early form of integration) he was able to find formulas for area, volume and surface areas for many objects. He also gave a very accurate depiction of Pi as well as showing that he could approximate square roots correctly. He also discovered theories for the center of gravity for a plane, a system for expressing large numbers (exponents) and his most famous Archimedes' principle.

    Also, he is accredited with writing the following books (in an unknown order and those of which still survive today): On plane equilibriums (two books), Quadrature of the parabola, On the sphere and cylinder (two books), On spirals, On conoids and spheroids, On floating bodies (two books), Measurement of a circle, and The Sandreckoner. However, these are not the only pieces of work that are known to have been made my Archimedes. Papus refers to books that Archimedes wrote on semi-regular polyhedra and another book that may have been titled On balances and levers.

    Upon his death, Archimedes requested that his greatest accomplishment to him, those concerning a cylinder circumscribing a sphere, to be carved into his tomb. Although he accomplished much during his life, his mathmatics were not known for a while after his death (which occured in 212 BC in the same city he was born in). However, his formulas and ideas are being applied today in the field of calculus as well as in many other fields.

    -To read the full details on Archimedes' life click here

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