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A Life Path of Archimedes of Syracuse

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Archimedes of Syracuse

If you look throughout time at the countless billions of people who have lived and toiled on this hunk of rock we call earth many questions might arise in your mind. Such questions may have something to do with how people lived in such and such a time or what really happened at such and such a place. But one question that we sometimes forget to ask is how does destiny pick those few lucky individuals and empower them to leave a lasting legacy that will have far reaching affects even after they have turned to dust in their graves? All of us hope that by chance, we can leave our mark on this planet through what we do while we are living. But usually when we are gone all we have to show for our existence is our family, and some of us dont even have that. But for some, destiny smiles on them and sets things in motion to allow a person through there deeds to remembered by time. Archimedes was such a man.

In the year 287 BC in the city of Syracuse, Sicily, Archimedes was born. Very little is known about his early life, in fact nothing is even known about his family other than his fathers name was Phidias and his father was an astronomer. However it is suspected that he studied under the students of the great Euclid. Euclid is known as the father of Geometry which is why I would like to go back in time and smack this man in the face for making Geometry so hard to comprehend. At an early age Archimedes showed great ingeniousness towards all things science and math related.

While Archimedes was a child he may have studied in Alexandria, Egypt alongside of Conon of Samos who would become a court astronomer for Ptolemy III, an Egyptian Pharaoh, and Eratosthenes of Cyrene who was the Greek scholar to invent the use of latitude and longitude on maps, he was also the first man to use the word geography. After Archimedes grew up and finished his studies he returned to Syracuse where he lived out the rest of his life and completed his most important work.

In his life Archimedes became known for his interests in many diverse fields. Indeed Archimedes was a true renascence man having become at the time, foremost in the fields of physics, engineering, astronomy, invention, and last bust not least mathematics. In fact when it came to math, Archimedes is well known for his ability to calculate the amount and/or size of given objects. For example, it was Archimedes who discovered the formula for measuring a circle. He also gave an extremely accurate representation or pi. While those are certainly amazing achievements one of his greatest achievements would be proving that the area enclosed by by a parabola and a straight line is 43 times the area of a corresponding inscribed triangle. At this point I would like to go back and smack Archimedes in the face because this past achievement was the beginning of trigonometry. Even though I am not taking trigonometry yet I am sure I will despise it because I simply hate triangles, mainly because they are not square or circular.

While Archimedes may have accomplished all these mathematical feats and invented engineering principals and inventions that we still use today, at some points in his life he was simply comical. As the popular story goes the King that Archimedes served gave a solid block of ten pounds of gold to two goldsmiths and told them to make him the most beautiful crown imaginable. When the crown was done it was presented to the king. However, it looked bigger than the amount of gold given to the goldsmiths. Also, it looked much more orange than the pure gold that had been given to them. So the king had the crown weighed to see if he had been cheated. When his scholars weighed the crown it came out to exactly ten pounds. Archimedes believing that the king had been cheated started puzzling over the matter. After a long hard day of work trying to prove that the king had been cheated, Archimedes went home with absolutely no leads to any glimmer of a solution to the problem. When he went home he drew a bath for himself. As was his custom he filled the tub to the brim and then stepped in. When he had lowered himself into the water he noticed that a large amount of water spilled out of the tub the water level was still at the brim. A thought started forming in Archimedes mind and suddenly he shouted out Eureka! (I have found it!) Without bothering to put clothes on Archimedes ran down the streets of Syracuse completely naked, shouting Eureka the entire way until he reached the palace. The thought that Archimedes had was that when you move a certain amount of mass into an area it will displace the exact equivalent amount of mass.

Unfortunately, fate had to have the last cruel laugh when it came to Archimedes. After a two year long siege of Syracuse by the Romans they finally overran the city. A roman soldier came across Archimedes in a street. Archimedes was drawing circles in the ground with a stick and working on another complex equation to work through to unlock more secrets about them. When the Roman soldier demanded that Archimedes come with him to see the Roman general, Archimedes ignored the soldier and continued working on his circles. Outraged at being ignored the roman soldier killed Archimedes with his sword. The last words that were ever muttered out of the mouth of Archimedes were dont disturb my circles. Perhaps Archimedes was delirious after being stabbed, or maybe the sheer ingeniousness of his mind finally overwhelmed him until all he could think about was the yet unknown mysteries of the universe. Either way the great Archimedes died in the year 212 BC.

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