Archimedes - 287 B.C.E. to ­ 211 B.C.E. His Life and Achievements.

Essay by His_EminenceJunior High, 9th gradeA, January 2004

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Archimedes is considered one of the three greatest mathematicians of all time along with Newton and Gauss. In his own time, he was known as "the wise one," "the master" and "the great geometer" and his works and inventions brought him fame that lasts to this very day. He was one of the last great Greek mathematicians.

Born in 287 B.C., in Syracuse, a Greek seaport colony in Sicily, Archimedes was the son of Phidias, the astronomer not the stone cutter of the same name. Archimedes proved to be a master at mathematics and spent most of his time contemplating new problems to solve, becoming at times so involved in his work that he forgot to eat. Lacking the blackboards and paper of modern times, he used any available surface, from the dust on the ground to ashes from an extinguished fire, to draw his geometric figures. Never giving up an opportunity to ponder his work, after bathing and anointing himself with olive oil, he would trace figures in the oil on his own skin.

Much of Archimedes fame comes from his relationship with Hiero, the king of Syracuse, and Gelon, Hiero's son. He seemed to make a hobby out of solving the king's most complicated problems to the utter amazement of the sovereign. At one time, the king ordered a gold crown and gave the goldsmith the exact amount of metal to make it. When Hiero received it, the crown had the correct weight but the monarch suspected that some silver had been used instead of the gold. Since he could not prove it, he brought the problem to Archimedes. One day while considering the question, "the wise one" entered his bathtub and recognized that the amount of water that overflowed the tub was proportional the amount of...