Archimedes was born around 287 B.C. His father was an astronomer, and a friend of King Hieron of Syracuse.

He spent some time in Alexandria, studying with the successors of Euclid, a famous mathematician.

His mechanical inventions were what brought him fame. Yet, he wouldn't attribute any significance to them. He merely considered them as "geometry at play".

Life of Archimedes had some interesting happenings. He was the mechanical genius of his home town.

Fighting Romans

During the siege of Syracuse, Archimedes was devising one ingenious invention after another, and using them against the conquering Romans.

There were catapults, which worked well at both close and long ranges. He constructed machines, which discharged showers of missles through the holes in the walls. He made long moveable poles, which dropped heavy weights onto enemy ships, across the city walls.

Marcellus tried encouraging Roman engineers to put an end to this fight with a "geometrical Briareus who uses our ships like cups, and, by the multitude of missiles that he hurls at us all at once, outdoes the hundred-handed giants of mythology". But no encouragement seemed to help. Romans were so terrified of Archimedes's inventions, as soon as they saw a rope or a peice of wood sticking out above the city walls, they would abandon everything and run. So, Marcellus had to give up all attempts at attacking the city, and resorted to a long-siege as his only chance to conquer it.

Law of buoyancy

When Archimedes discovered the law of buoyancy, while taking a bath, he ran naked to his house, yelling "Eureka! Eureka!"

"Give me a place to stand on and I will move the earth"

One of his famous quotes was “Give me a place to stand on and I will move the earth”.

What did he mean by that? Well, one day Archimedes visited King Hieron. He was presenting the solution that would allow moving a given weight by a given force.

King Hieron responded to the boasful claim about moving the earth, by asking Archimedes to demonstrate his solution with something "practical". So, Archimedes ordered to load a ship to the fullest capacity, along with passangers. Than sitting himself at a large distance from the ship, was able to move the ship effortlessly, by hand, with the help of a compound pulley.

King Heiron was so astonished, he declared that from that day forward, Archimedes's word was to be accepted on every subject!

Accomplishments and Writings

Archimedes is considered to be one of the top mathematicians of all time. He is considered to be the father of the science of hydrostatics. He is also regarded as being the first to treat mechanics in a systematic way.

Some of his writings included:

1. On Plane Equilibriums, I.
2. Quadrature of a Parabola.
3. On Plane Equilibriums, II.
4. The Method.
5. On the Sphere and Cylinder, I, II.
6. On Spirals.
7. On Conoids and Spheroids.
8. On Floating Bodies, I, II.
9. Measurement of a Circle.
10. The Sandreckoner.

Last geometry problem

Archimedes died studying a diagram on the ground. He was so absorbed with trying to solve his next mathematical problem, he didn't notice how the Romans captured the city.


 Heath, Thomas Little. Archimedes. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1920. Print.

0 Newsletter
Add Comment