Essay, Research Paper: Archimedes


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Archimedes was born in 287 BC in Syracuse, a Greek seaport colony in Sicily.
Archimedes’ father was Phidias. He was an astronomer; this is all we know
about his father and we learn this from Archimedes’ work, The Sandreckoner.
Archimedes was educated in Alexandria, Egypt. Archimedes’ friend, Heracleides,
wrote a biography about him, but this work was lost. Some authors report that he
visited Egypt and there invented a tool known as Archimedes' screw. This is a
pump, still used today in parts of the world. It is likely that, when he was a
young man, Archimedes studied with the followers of Euclid. Many of his ideas
seem to correspond with the mathematics developed there. This speculation is
much more certain because he sent his results to Alexandria with personal
messages. He considered Conon of Samos, one of the greatest achieving
mathematicians at Alexandria, both for his abilities as a mathematician and he
also respected him as a close friend. Archimedes spent most of his life in
Sicily, near Syracuse except for his journeys to Alexandria. He never held any
public office but he was faithful to his lifetime of research and experiment. At
times, Archimedes became so immersed in his work that he would forget to eat. He
used every surface available to do his work on, including oil on his skin to
ashes from a fire. Many of Archimedes’ discoveries were put to the test during
the Roman conquest of Sicily. His mechanical tools and machines were used,
including the legendary catapult which he is credited for making. This was all
for the protection of Syracuse. Despite the use of Archimedes’ inventions,
Syracuse was captured during the Second Punic war. A Roman soldier who found him
drawing a mathematical diagram in the sand killed Archimedes. It is said that
Archimedes was so preoccupied in his calculation that he simply said to the
intruder, "Do not disturb my diagrams." Aside from the fame Archimedes
earned from his work on the Archimedes’ screw, he was also famous for his
relationship with the king, Hiero. Hiero often had complicated problems to
solve, and Archimedes solved them causing surprise among the town. The king
often challenged Archimedes. One of Archimedes’ quotes is “Give me a place
to stand and I will move the Earth.” The king took him up on this challenge
and invited him to move a ship that even all the men in Syracuse. With his
knowledge of levers and pulleys, Archimedes was able to create a machine that
could move the ship. Archimedes was far beyond his time. With his discoveries in
mathematics, he was able to predict and imitate much of modern science.
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