How Was Math and Science Used in Ancient Greece?

Math and science have played a crucial role in the development of human civilization. Ancient Greece, widely regarded as the birthplace of Western civilization, made significant contributions to these fields. The Greeks’ understanding of math and science helped them make groundbreaking discoveries that influenced modern science.

Mathematics in Ancient Greece

The Greeks were pioneers in mathematics, and their discoveries laid the foundation for modern mathematics. They developed concepts such as geometry, trigonometry, and algebra.

One of the most renowned mathematicians of ancient Greece was Euclid, who is famously known for his book ‘Elements.’ This book contains 13 parts that cover various aspects of geometry. Euclid’s work formed the basis for mathematical principles that are still used today.

The Pythagorean Theorem

Another significant contribution to mathematics from ancient Greece was the Pythagorean theorem. This theorem states that in a right-angled triangle, the square of the hypotenuse (the longest side) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. This concept was discovered by Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher and mathematician who founded the Pythagorean school.

The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio is another mathematical concept that originated from ancient Greece. It is a proportion observed in nature and has been used by artists and architects to create aesthetically pleasing designs for centuries. The ratio is approximately 1:1.618 and can be seen in various natural phenomena such as seashells, sunflowers, and even human faces.

Science in Ancient Greece

The Greeks were also pioneers in science, making remarkable discoveries about the natural world around them.

Aristotle’s Contributions to Science

Aristotle was one of Greece’s most notable scientists whose work had a significant impact on biology and zoology. He was interested in observing and classifying different species, and his work formed the basis for modern taxonomy. Aristotle also made significant contributions to physics, astronomy, and metaphysics.

Archimedes’ Principle

Another significant scientific contribution from ancient Greece was Archimedes’ Principle. This principle states that the buoyant force acting on a body immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. This concept has been used to explain various phenomena, such as why objects float or sink in water.

The Discovery of the Earth’s Shape

The Greeks also made significant discoveries about the shape of the earth. Eratosthenes, a Greek mathematician, geographer, and astronomer, calculated the earth’s circumference with remarkable accuracy using simple geometry and trigonometry. He was able to do this by measuring the angle of the sun’s rays at two locations on earth at the same time.


In conclusion, ancient Greece’s contributions to math and science have had an immeasurable impact on modern society. The Greeks’ understanding of these fields paved the way for groundbreaking discoveries that have influenced our lives in countless ways. From Euclid’s Elements to Archimedes’ Principle and Aristotle’s work in biology and zoology, we owe much of our knowledge today to these ancient pioneers.