# Great Scientists and their Inventions

## Archimedes(Lived c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC)

Archimedes is the best known mathematician and scientist from ancient times. In addition to brilliant discoveries in mathematics and physics, he was also an inventor. Archimedes was born in the Greek city-state of Syracuse on the island of Sicily in approximately 287 BC. His father, Phidias, was an astronomer.

Archimedes may also have been related to Hiero II, King of Syracuse.

### Archimedes’ Greatest Achievements

Invented the sciences of mechanics and hydrostatics.

Discovered the laws of levers and pulleys, which allow us to move heavy objects using small forces.

Invented one of the most fundamental concepts of physics – the center of gravity.

Calculated pi to the most precise value known. His upper limit for pi was the fraction 22⁄7. This value was still in use in the late 20th century, until electronic calculators finally laid it to rest.

Discovered and mathematically proved the formulas for the volume and surface area of a sphere.

Showed how exponents could be used to write bigger numbers than had ever been thought of before.

Proved that to multiply numbers written as exponents, the exponents should be added together.

Invented the Archimedean Screw to pull water out of the ground – the device is still used around the world.

Infuriated mathematicians who tried to replicate his discoveries 18 centuries later – they could not understand how Archimedes had achieved his results.

Directly inspired Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton to investigate the mathematics of motion. Archimedes’ surviving works (tragically, many have been lost) finally made it into print in 1544. Leonardo da Vinci was lucky enough to have seen some of the hand-copied works of Archimedes before they were eventually printed.

Was one of the world’s first mathematical physicists, applying his advanced mathematics to the physical world.

Was the first person to apply lessons from physics – such as the law of the lever – to solve problems in pure mathematics.

Invented war machines such as a highly accurate catapult, which stopped the Romans conquering Syracuse for years. It’s now believed he may have done this by understanding the mathematics of projectile trajectory.

Became famous throughout the ancient world for his brilliant mind – so famous that we cannot be sure that everything he is said to have done is true.

Inspired what we now believe are myths including a mirror system to burn attacking ships using the sun’s rays, and jumping from his bath, then running naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting ‘Eureka’ meaning ‘I’ve found it’ after realizing how to prove whether the king’s gold crown had silver in it.