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The invention of mathematical formulas used in physical and chemical sciences has played a crucial role in technological advancement exhibited in the contemporary society. Many of these inventions were made in the early and the late 1800’s, while some made as early as 200 BC’s. Many scholars in the contemporary generation have shown increased interest in studying the motivation of these ancient inventors and how they managed to develop their ideas (Netz & Noel, 2007). This paper will document the autobiography of Archimedes of Syracuse, who has been considered a pioneer through inventing mathematical formulas.
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“Archimedes of Syracuse”
Archimedes was born to Phidias, a mathematician and an astronomer in 287 BC in Syracuse, a city in Sicily (Zannos, 2005). There is no clear information about his early life and his family, but some people claim that his nobility was of Syracuse and that he was related to the King of Syracuse, Hiero II. During this period, Syracuse was considered a centre of commercial activities and as a young person growing in this busy city Archimedes developed an interest in solving complex mathematical problems facing the people of Sicily (Anderson, 2009). After acquiring much information from the local schools he attended in Syracuse, he travelled to Egypt for further learning in Alexandria University. Upon completion of his education, Archimedes travelled back to Syracuse where he lived a life of innovative thinking and solving problems through critical thinking as well as application of mathematical formulas (Geymonat, 2010). King Hiero II was impressed by Archimedes’ inventions which offered solutions to various challenges (Neal, 2011).
One of Archimedes’s inventions that impressed King Hiero II was Archimedes’ screw that enabled the King to empty water from a hull of his ship. Archimedes was also asked by the king to find out how he could determine the amount of gold on his crown without destroying it. Archimedes addressed this by immersing it in water and determining the volume of the water it displaced, then determining the weight of the crown, thus its density (Dijksterhuis, 2009). This information enabled him to determine the purity of the crown.
Apart from his innovations, Archimedes participated in the defense of Sicily from the Romans. Sicily was considered a centre of political and geological activities, as an Island located between Carthage and Rome, Sicily was faced by the challenge of ally issues. That is, the King did not know whether to form an ally with either Rome or Carthage: This is because, forming an ally with i.e. Rome, could have led to enmity between Sicily and Carthage (Gow, 2005). Archimedes was given the responsibility of constructing walls to protect the city from Carthaginian or Roman attacks. He also developed war machines that could be used during attacks. In geometry, Archimedes contributed significantly towards the development of the basic principles of pivot as well as pulley system. He also contributed significantly towards the understanding of the principle of buoyancy, defined as the power of liquid to exert an upward force on an object placed in it (Paipetis, 2010). Archimedes died when Rome attacked Syracuse, he was attacked by an enraged soldier, who had demanded that he accompany him to King Marcellus’ tent (Jaeger, 2008). In conclusion, Archimedes had a significant contribution to in mathematics and physics. His ideas regarding the calculation of density of objects immersed in water as well as the idea of buoyancy are currently used in various learning systems and in practical circumstances. Archimedes can also be considered a patriot owing to the fact that he defended his nation fearlessly from the cruel Roman Soldiers, an act that led to his death at 75 years (Archimedes, Netz &Eutocius, 2004).
Archimedes., Netz, R. and Eutocius, (2004). The works of Archimedes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dijksterhuis, E. (2009). Archimedes. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Netz, R. and Noel, W. (2007). The Archimedes Codex. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press.
Zannos, S. (2005). The life and times of Archimedes. Hockessin, Del.: Mitchell Lane.Geymonat, M. (2010). The
Great Archimedes. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press.
Anderson, M. (2009). Archimedes of Syracuse: The chest of ideas : A historical novel. Faifield, Iowa: 1st World Publishing.
Gow, M. (2005). Archimedes: Mathematical Genius of the Ancient World. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow.
Paipetis, S. (2010). Archimedes’ Contribution in Physics and Mathematics. Dordrecht: Springer.
Neal, C. (2011). Archimedes. New York: McGrawHill.
Jaeger, M. (2008). Archimedes and the Roman imagination. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
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