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Archimedes

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Archimedes (287 BC- 212 BC)

When people discuss the achievements of the greatest mathematicians of all time, a name that always comes up is Archimedes. Archimedes was a Greek mathematician astronomer, philosopher, physicist and engineer. He had a reputation in his own time that very few other mathematicians of this period achieved. He is considered by most historians of mathematics as one of the greatest mathematicians of all. His nicknames were, "the wise one", "the master", and "the great geometer." He is credited with a number of important inventions, such as the pi, which is extremely important in mathematical calculations. Other theorems and inventions are attributed to him such as the Archimedes screw, compound pulleys and the lever.

Archimedes was probably born around 287 BC. Archimedes spent most of his life in Syracuse, the principal city-state in Sicily. Archimedes published his works as letters and correspondence with the other great mathematicians of his time, including the Alexandrian scholars Conon of Samos and Eratosthenes of Cyrene. Some of the works which have survived throughout time are the following: 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. There may have been other works but they have been either lost or destroyed. According to Plutarch, another ancient philosopher, Archimedes had so low an opinion of the kind of practical invention at which he excelled and to that he left no written work on such subjects. Most of his works were of a theoretical nature and not of the practical nature. Archimedes, even though he achieved fame by his mechanical inventions, believed that pure mathematics was the only worthy pursuit. In the field of mathematics he helped develop the science of geometry. His methods anticipated the integral calculus 2,000 years before Newton and Leibniz, which were two other famous mathematicians.

However, his most famous discovery, according to many, is pi. Pi is the mathematical constant Ð'ј which represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter and is commonly used in mathematics, physics, and engineering. Pi is the lowercase Greek letter that is the same as "p" in the Roman alphabet. Its name is "pi" which is pronounced as pie and this spelling can be used when the Greek letter is not available. He also performed many geometric proofs using the rigid geometric formalism outlined by Euclid, and was especially good at computing areas and volumes using the method of exhaustion. He discovered the relation between the surface area and volume of a sphere and those of its circumscribing cylinder. His tombstone is said to have had a figure of a sphere inscribed inside a cylinder and the 2:3 ratio of the volumes between them, the solution to the problem he considered his greatest achievement according to some.

Other work of Archimedes that deserves special recognition is his collection of thirteen solid figures. What makes them special is that even though many solid figures having all kinds of

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