At some point or another in life, everyone finds the circumference of a circle. Nowadays,

people just find it with the formula c=d?.. However, in 500bc, no one knew what ?

equaled. Archimedes discovered the value of pi and essentially unlocked the world of

accurate circles.

Biography

Archimedes was a greek inventor and mathematician. He was born in Syracuse, a city

in Sicily. His father was Phidias the astronomer, however no one knows who his mother

was (Archimedes). As a boy, he first attended school in his home town of Syracuse,

then later moved to Alexandria, Egypt, to finish his schooling. After he was finished with

his schooling, he then moved back to Syracuse.

Archimedes was closely related to king Hiero II, because they were closely

related (Archimedes of Syracuse). Heiro relied on Archimedes quite a bit. One example

is this: Heiro II had given a certain amount of pure gold to a goldsmith to make a new

crown for himself, the king. This goldsmith had a bit of a reputation for being a little

dishonest. Once the crown was finished, Heiro gave the crown to Archimedes to test if it

was pure gold without ruining it. Archimedes took it and dipped it in water and measured

how much water it displaced. Turns out, the goldsmith had replaced some of the gold

with silver. This was bad news for the goldsmith.

As a great inventor, He was called to help with national matters quite often. He

lived during the time of the first 2 punic wars. In 214 bc, Rome attacked Sicily. He built

mirrors to reflect the sunlight and set roman boats on fire, giant grappling cranes to pull

ships right out of the water to defend Syracuse. “It is said that Archimedes’s machines

were so successful that it is said that if the Romans saw so much as a length of rope or

a piece of timber appear over the top of the wall, it was enough to make them cry out,

‘Look, Archimedes is aiming one of his machines at us,’ and they would flee

(Archimedes of Syracuse). ” In 412 bc, Rome finally took Syracuse. While Rome took

over the city, Archimedes was drawing geometric figures in the sand at the nearby

beach. A roman soldier found him and was going to take him into custody. When

Archimedes saw the person coming towards him, he said “Don’t disturb my circles.” The

soldier, angered at being ordered what to do, Ran him through.

Important Experiences

Schooling Not much is known about the early life of Archimedes. He was born

to Phidias, who was an astronomer and mathematician. Some sources say that he was

related to King Hiero II. He had his early schooling in his home city of Syracuse. Once

he was old enough, he was sent to Alexandria, Egypt to finish his schooling. In

Alexandria, he was taught by Conon, a mathematician and astronomer (“Archimedes of

Syracuse”). He soon became a good friend of Conon and Eratosthenes, who was a

custodian of the school (“Archimedes of Syracuse”). After he finished his schooling, He

moved back to Syracuse where he lived the rest of his life.

Finding Density of Kings Crown Since Archimedes was related to king Hiero II,

he was often asked to do favors for him. The king had a new crown being made, so for

the project he supplied a bunch of gold to a goldsmith. This goldsmith was known for

taking shortcuts, as well as being a bit of a pilferer. King Hiero II was worried that this

goldsmith had taken some of the gold and replaced it with silver, then kept the left over

gold. The challenge for Archimedes was to find out the density of the crown, but he

couldn’t melt it down to measure it. It is said that Archimedes discovered the answer to

this problem while he was taking a bath. He found out that the amount of water

displaced is directly proportional to the volume of the object being displaced. He was so

pleased with his discovery that he ran throughout the streets yelling “Eureka!” without

even getting dressed. He did it with the crown and sure enough, the goldsmith had

replaced some of the gold with silver (“Archimedes of Syracuse”). It goes without

saying that this was bad news for the goldsmith.

Hypothetical thinking Although Archimedes did a lot of practical math and

science, he enjoyed purely hypothetical thinking. One of these problems he did was

how many grains of sand could fit in the universe. First, he figured out how many grains

of sand can fit in a poppy seed. Then he figured out how many poppy seeds are the

length of his finger. After that he found out how many finger lengths would fit in a

stadium. He would repeat this process with the earth, distance between here and the

sun, and finally “sun-distances” to the stars. Archimedes did all this work, just because

people said that it wasn’t possible to count the grains of sand on the beach (Hirshfeld).

Finding the value of pi was one of his most useful achievements. He found this

by taking a circle and putting the biggest possible triangle inside the circle and the

smallest possible triangle on the outside and finding the perimeters of the triangles. He

then did this with a hexagon, a 12-gon, a 24-gon, all the way up to a 96-gon. He found

out that Pi is between

25344 ? 8069 and 29376 ? 9347. His greatest achievement was to find the volume of a

sphere. He took a sphere and cut it into half. Next, the hemisphere was cut into slices.

Archimedes then found the area of each of these circles and added them together.

Finally, the number was multiplied by two, so he had the whole sphere (“Archimedes”).

Defend Syracuse! In 214 BC, Syracuse joined the 2nd punic war, and they

allied with Carthage against Rome. Hiero set Archimedes and a group of workers

strengthening and building new defenses. Archimedes supposedly engineered many

new defense systems. Some of these included mirrors that reflected sunlight and

caught Roman ships on fire, Grappling Cranes that grabbed ships and capsized them,

and a variety of catapults and launchers to shoot a variety of objects at the ships. In 212

BC, despite all of these defenses, Rome took Syracuse. The general of the roman army

had heard of Archimedes and ordered him be captured. A soldier found him at the

beach doing geometry in the sand, unaware that the city had been captured. When the

soldier ordered him to go to the general, Archimedes refused, saying something like,

“Don’t disturb my circles.” The soldier, enraged for being denied, impaled him there on

the sand(“Archimedes of Syracuse.”).

Lasting Influence

Archimedes effect on mathematics was profound. Finding the value of pi allowed for some

equations that before were almost impossible to do with any good amount of accuracy. Without

pi, there are many things that are just not possible to do.

One thing that we couldn’t do is make circles. Since pi is part of finding the

circumference of a circle, people nowadays would have to use 3 just like the egyptians did.

Pillars to hold up large buildings would be better off being squares because circular pillars would

not be perfectly round. Folks would have to take their cars to the auto-shop more often, and

road trips would be much more bumpy because tires would be not as round as is possible right

now. It would also be impossible to make any sort of automations or robots. Every single one

that is invented with any moving parts uses gears, pulleys, or sockets, all of which need to be

perfectly round. Another thing that would be hard to create are round lightbulbs. Since lightbulbs

are roughly spherical, they require pi in their formula. Perfect doorknobs would also not be

possible. Inside of doorknobs their is a round shaft, a spring, and some gears. The gears would

not fit quite right, meaning that they would make a lot more noise than they do and would wear

out more quickly.

Conclusion

Archimedes, as a mathematician and inventor, has shown the world what the impossible

can be done through math and science. All that is needed is a little bit of curiosity and

imagination. Throughout history, since Archimedes, his discoveries has helped every civilization

after him that has used the wheel or the column. By looking at what he did, we can safely say

“Knowledge is Power.”

Works Cited

“Archimedes of Syracuse.” World of Mathematics, Gale, 2006. Biography in Context,

link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/K2426100016/BIC1?u=pioneer&xid=8b662ab3. Accessed

10 Nov. 2017.

“Archimedes of Syracuse.” Math & Mathematicians: The History of Math Discoveries Around

the World, edited by Leonard C. Bruno, UXL, 2008. Biography in Context,

link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/K1669000003/BIC1?u=pioneer&xid=68279b3f.

Accessed 10 Nov. 2017.

“Archimedes of Syracuse.” World of Mathematics, Gale, 2006. Biography in Context,

link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/K2426100016/BIC1?u=pioneer&xid=8b662ab3. Accessed

6 Dec. 2017.

“Archimedes.” World Eras, edited by John T. Kirby, vol. 3: Roman Republic and Empire, 264

B.C.E.- 476 C.E. Gale, 2001. Biography in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/

K1646300006/BIC1?u=pioneer&xid=4dd479d1. Accessed 10 Nov. 2017.

“Home.” Famous Scientists, www.famousscientists.org/archimedes/. Accessed 14 Nov. 2017

Maor, Eli. “Archimedes.” World Book Student, World Book, 2017, www.worldbookonline.com/

student/article?id=ar028620. Accessed 10 Nov. 2017.