Euclid: The Math Wiz

Essay by Ryankirkland April 2004

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Euclid, a Greek Mathematician, is one of the most significant and finest read mathematician of all time. His prize work, Elements, was the manual of basic geometry and logic up to the early twentieth century. For his work in the field, he is identified as the father of geometry and is thought to be one of greatest Greek mathematicians.

Very little is known about the life of Euclid. Both the dates and locations of his birth and death are unidentified. It is thought that he was taught at Plato's academy in Athens and dwelled there until Ptolemy I asked him to teach at his newly founded university in Alexandria. At this school, Euclid founded the school of mathematics and remained there for the remainder of his life. As a teacher, he was most likely one of the mentors or teachers of Archimedes. All accounts of Euclid describe him as a nice, reasonable, tolerant man who quickly assisted and honored the others works.

Euclid's reputation came from his works and writings, particularly his work of genius called, Elements. This 13 volume series is a compilation of books about Greek mathematics and geometry. It is not known how much, if any, of the work incorporated in Elements is Euclid's original work. But it is know that the format of Elements is Euclidâ ®s. Each volume lists a variety of definitions and hypothesizes ensued by theorems, which are followed then by proofs using those definitions and postulates. Each statement was proven, no matter how obvious. Euclid picked his postulates vigilantly, picking only the most basic and obvious propositions as the foundation of his work. Before, rival schools each had a different set of postulates, some of which were very debatable and naive. This format assists the standardization...