Archimedes: biography
Archimedes 287 – 212 B.C.
„Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I will move the world.“
„Do not disturb my diagrams.“
Everyone knows this words which have been said by preeminent Greek mathematician and inventor, who wrote important works on plane and solid geometry, arithmetic, and mechanics. Archimedes was a native of Syracuse, Sicily. He was born in 287 BC in aristocrat, not very rich but well educated family.His father was Phidias, an astronomer. We know nothing else about Phidias other than this one fact and we only know this since Archimedes gives us this information in one of his works – The Sandreckoner. A friend of Archimedes called Heraclides wrote a biography of him but sadly this work is lost. Sporos was a really bright child so one scholar nammed him „an iron mind“ thus Archimedes.
He has been studied in Alexandria – Egypt. Archimedes spent the major part of his life in Sicily , in and around Syracuse. He did not hold any public office but devoted his entire lifetime to research and experiment. During the Roman conquest of Sicily, however, he placed his gifts at the disposal of the state, and several of his mechanical devices were employed in the defence of Syracuse. Among the war machine attributed to him is the catapult. As legend says, he mannaged to fight off Romans due to huge mirrors which light enemy`s ships. For a long time there were speculations about it because in these ages it was not possible to construct so big mirror but by an experiment it was found out that it need not to be only mirrors but it was possible that he could use a bronze scutums which were used in Greek in this ages. In mechanics, Archimedes defined the principle of the lever and is credited with inventing the compound pulley. During his stay in Egypt he invented the hydraulic screw for rasing water from a lower to a higher level. He is best known for discovering the law of hydrostatics, often called Archimedes` principle, which states that a body immersed in a fluid loses weight equal to the weight of the amount of fluid it displaces. This discovery is said to have been made as Archimedes stapped into his bathand preceived the displaced water overflowing. He was the first who deduced formula for calculation of volume of sphere, cylinder and cone. In one of the stories of his dead is that Archimedes had to bring a soldier into Marcellus, but he said he will not bring him there untill he cracked some problem which is not finished. The soldier got angry and killed him.
But the second story tells us during the Second Punic war, a Roman soldier who found him drawing a mathematical diagram in the sand and did not know Archimedes killed him. It is said that Archimedes was so absorbed in calculation that he offended the meddler merely by remarking. There is a lot of speaking about his life that he was crazy but the truth is he was genius...
