Ancient Greece is known for its remarkable contributions to philosophy, mathematics, and science. It was a time when great thinkers and scientists were revered for their knowledge and discoveries. Among the many influential figures in ancient Greece, one scientist stands out as the most famous – Archimedes.
Who is Archimedes?
Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer who lived in the third century BCE. He was born in the city of Syracuse in Sicily, which was then under Greek control. Archimedes is considered one of the greatest scientists of all time due to his numerous contributions to mathematics and physics.
Archimedes made several significant discoveries in his lifetime that have had a lasting impact on modern science. Some of his most notable contributions include:
- Archimedes’ Principle: Archimedes discovered that the buoyant force on an object submerged in water is equal to the weight of fluid displaced by that object. This principle is still used today in shipbuilding and other areas of engineering.
- The Law of Lever: Archimedes formulated the Law of Lever which states that a small force applied at a greater distance from a pivot point can move a large object with less force applied at a shorter distance from the pivot point.
This law has been used extensively in mechanics and engineering.
- Cylindrical Surface Area: Archimedes discovered how to calculate the surface area of a cylinder by using two circles and a rectangle. This discovery has been applied to various fields including architecture, construction, and engineering.
The Death of Archimedes
Archimedes’ death was as tragic as it was ironic. During the Roman-Syrian War, Syracuse was besieged by Roman forces. Despite the city being vastly outnumbered, Archimedes designed several weapons and machines that helped the city hold off the Romans for two years.
However, in 212 BCE, Roman soldiers breached the city walls and stormed into Syracuse. According to legend, Archimedes was so engrossed in his work that he did not notice the commotion around him. A Roman soldier came across him and demanded that he come with him to meet the Roman general Marcellus.
Archimedes refused to follow the soldier, saying “Do not disturb my circles”. The soldier, enraged by this response, killed Archimedes on the spot. Thus ended the life of one of history’s greatest scientists.
Archimedes is undoubtedly one of the most famous scientists in ancient Greece. His discoveries and inventions have had a profound impact on science and engineering for centuries.
His contributions to mathematics and physics still form an integral part of modern science. He will always be remembered as a brilliant scientist who pushed the boundaries of human knowledge and made groundbreaking discoveries that changed our understanding of science forever.