287 B.C.E. - 212 B.C.E.

Greek mathematician, physicist, and inventor from Syracuse, Sicily. He worked as court scientist for king/tyrant Hiero II.

He studied in Alexandria, Egypt under Conon of Samos who was himself a student of Euclid.

He invented the Archimedean Screw, pulleys, worked on hydrostatics, and determined many important geometric formulae including the area of a sphere, pi, and many more.

Very famous for running around naked shouting "eureka!" after discovering Archimedes' Principle, which is named after him.

He won the Second Punic War for Syracuse with catapults, cranes using compound pulleys to lift boats up and drop them into the water or slam them into rocks (seriously!), and (though this one is disputed) concave mirrors to direct intense light at enemy ships and burn them.
I say he won the war, but actually his side lost to the Romans. It wasn't his fault though. They thought they had pretty much won but with a surprise night attack the Romans captured the city.
The Roman leader, Marcellus said "don't kill Archimedes" but a Roman soldier did anyway. :-(

He did not bathe very often at all. He was always busy doing geometry and stuff that his servants always had to bug him to take one (I have the same problem, but I don't have servants.) He also often forgot to eat.

"Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world." -- Archimedes, Pappus of Alexandria

Called Archimedes of Syracuse
Born 287 BC in Syracuse, Sicily
Died 212 BC in Syracuse, Sicily

A Greek mathematician who invented what is now known as Archimedean Screw and made enough advances in geometry and other branches of mathematics that school children curse his name to this day.

He was actively involved in the defense of Syracuse against the Romans.

Plutarch recounts three versions of the story of his killing which had come down to him. The first version:-

Archimedes … was …, as fate would have it, intent upon working out some problem by a diagram, and having fixed his mind alike and his eyes upon the subject of his speculation, he never noticed the incursion of the Romans, nor that the city was taken. In this transport of study and contemplation, a soldier, unexpectedly coming up to him, commanded him to follow to Marcellus; which he declining to do before he had worked out his problem to a demonstration, the soldier, enraged, drew his sword and ran him through.
The second version:-
… a Roman soldier, running upon him with a drawn sword, offered to kill him; and that Archimedes, looking back, earnestly besought him to hold his hand a little while, that he might not leave what he was then at work upon inconclusive and imperfect; but the soldier, nothing moved by his entreaty, instantly killed him.
Finally, the third version that Plutarch had heard:-
… as Archimedes was carrying to Marcellus mathematical instruments, dials, spheres, and angles, by which the magnitude of the sun might be measured to the sight, some soldiers seeing him, and thinking that he carried gold in a vessel, slew him.
(A quotation by Plutarch about Archimedes)
… being perpetually charmed by his familiar siren, that is, by his geometry, he neglected to eat and drink and took no care of his person; that he was often carried by force to the baths, and when there he would trace geometrical figures in the ashes of the fire, and with his finger draws lines upon his body when it was anointed with oil, being in a state of great ecstasy and divinely possessed by his science.
Quoted in G F Simmons Calculus Gems (New York 1992).
Any solid lighter than a fluid will, if placed in the fluid, be so far immersed that the weight of the solid will be equal to the weight of the fluid displaced.
On floating bodies I, prop 5.
Archimedes to Eratosthenes greeting. … certain things first became clear to me by a mechanical method, although they had to be demonstrated by geometry afterwards because their investigation by the said method did not furnish an actual demonstration. But it is of course easier, when we have previously acquired by the method, some knowledge of the questions, to supply the proof than it is to find it without any previous knowledge.
The Method in The Works of Archimedes translated by T L Heath (Cambridge 1912)
Eureka, Eureka.
I have found (it).
V Pollio, De Architectura ix, 215
Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.
On the lever in Pappus Synagoge
Soldier, stand away from my diagram.
There are things which seem incredible to most men who have not studied mathematics.
Quoted in D MacHale, Conic Sections (Dublin 1993)

See also:
Burning Mirrors of Archimedes

Also, Merlyn's owl in The Sword in the Stone (both the Disney movie and the book). Often grumpy, likes to tell people they're doing something wrong, and then not tell them how he would do it. Argues with Merlyn quite frequently to, but befriends the young main character, Wart.

Ar`chi*me"des (#), n. Paleon.

An extinct genus of Bryzoa characteristic of the subcarboniferous rocks. Its form is that of a screw.


© Webster 1913.

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