archimedes picture On Saturday afternoon, an exclusive interview took place with Archimedes. He established the principles of pl\ane and solid geometry, discovered the concept of specific gravity, conducted experiments with buoyancy, and demonstrated the p ower of mechanical advantage. He is known as the most original and profound mathematician of ancient times.

Q: Lets start off with some general questions for our viewers, what was your life like?

Archimedes: I was born over 2,000 years ago around 287 B.C. in the city of Syracuse on Sicily, an island near the “toe” of Italy. My father was named Pheidias, and he was an astronomer. At that time Syracuse was a Greek City, even though it was very far from the Greek mainland. Back in those times the civilization of Ancient Greece spread all through the eastern part of the Mediterranean region. I was schooled at Euclid’s school in Alexandria, Egypt. This was one of the biggest cities of all time. I was taught internal calculus, which included the studying of volume. I spent most of my life in Syracuse, but I had no public office to work in. I devoted my entire lifetime towards science research and development.

Q: What were some of your discoveries?

Archimedes: Throughout my life I invented many war machines used in the defense of Syracuse, compound pulley systems, planetariums, the water screw, and the water organ. The screw consists of a cylinder inside of which a continuous screw, extending the length of the cylinder forms a spiral chamber. By placing the lower end in the water and spinning the screw, the water raises to the top. This principle was applied in many machines used in drainage and irrigation, and was commonly used in the Nile Valley. I have made many other machines through mathematical calculations that make it possible to remove very heavy things with small force.

Q: What was a memorable moment in your life… if you can remember?

Archimedes: Well, I did most of my work for King Hiero (King of Syracuse). One time he had suspected that a goldsmith had not made a new crown of pure gold, but had mixed in some less costly silver. The king asked me to investigate the situation.    I spent a lot of time thinking about how to solve the problem, because back then we did not have much technology. I found the answer while I was taking a bath. I noticed that when I got in the bathtub water fell out. By measuring how much water fell out I realized I could measure the volume of my body. Therefore I could compare the amount of water displaced by the crown to the amount of water displaced by an equal weight of pure gold. The crown had displaced more water, and therefore was not pure gold.

Q: Throughout your lifetime you have been appreciated by many for making numerous discoveries. Which discovery are you most proud of?

Archimedes: Back around my time, we had no idea what pi was. I made further contributions into closer discovering what pi was. What I did was draw two polygons, one around the outside of the circle (so its perimeter was greater than the circle’s), and one inside the circle (so its perimeter was less than the circles). I polygon diagram came to the conclusion that the perimiter of the large square is 4D, if the diameter was established as “D”. So therefore pi is less than 4D/D = 4. If the perimeter of the small square is 4D/Rad(2) and the diameter is still “D”  then (4D/Rad(2))/D = 4/Rad(2) = 2.828. Using this principle I used polygons with more sides to find pi to the nearest number. The largest polygon I used had 96 sides, and with that I determined pi to be between 3 10/70 and 3 10/71!

Q: That is quite tremendous! Are you satisfied with all of your accomplishments?

Archimedes: Yes, Absolutely. After all, without my discoveries, what a different world this would be!

Works Cited

“Archimedes.” The World Book Encyclopedia. World Book Inc. Chicago Il, 2002.

Gave good background information and gave some explanation on some achievements and important discoveries Archimedes had. This is always a solid source.

“Archimedes Discoveries”

This page was also very good at giving interactive images showing how Archimedes did when he solved all of his discoveries. It has everything he did on every subject of math, showing how clever he really was. This is probably the best source out of all four.

Ipsen, D. C. Archimedes: Greatest Scientist of the Ancient World. Enslow Publishers, Inc. Hillside NJ, 1988.

This was a really easy book to read on Archimedes, it did not have a lot of information, just a lot of stories that really did not have much on the subject, but still a decent source.

Rorres, Chris.Archimedes, Drexel University, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

This is an amazing site, and has everything about Archimedes you ever wanted to know. Not a lot on his personal life, it gives a good explanation of all of his accomplishments.