Can you identify the mathematicians?
First or two articles about Fibonacci, written for students.
Second of two articles about Fibonacci, written for students.
Published February 2011.
This image was taken from the
There are many stories about Archimedes' discoveries and
inventions. When the Romans were attacking Syracuse, the King (who
was also a good friend) asked Archimedes to help defend the city.
He invented huge cranes, which could lift ships out of water;
movable poles which dropped weights on enemy ships and powerful
Archimedes' Claw, a device which
lifted ships into the air and rolled them over.
Archimedes also developed
complicated pulley systems to drag ships along. These war-time
inventions gained Archimedes a lot of recognition and respect from
the local people.
It was when Archimedes was in his
bath that he jumped up shouting the famous "Eureka!" He had been
trying to solve a problem for the King - how to find out whether
the King's crown was pure gold or if some silver had been added. As
he got into the bath, some water sloshed over the sides and this
inspired Archimedes to try an experiment. He discovered that when
the crown was put in a bowl of water, more water over-flowed than
when the same weight of pure gold was put in. This meant that the
crown could not be entirely pure gold. This led to the first law of
hydrostatics. You can find out about this in more detail on the
websites listed at the end.
Although Archimedes became famous
for his inventions during the war, he loved to study "pure" maths
much more. He had a passion for geometry and he wrote many
important papers on different topics. Here we shall concentrate on
A spiral is a special kind of curved path on a 2d (flat)
surface. Spirals are described in maths by sets of equations and
are given different names. Archimedes investigated many different
types of spirals and one of these is now named after him.
The Archimedes' spiral is the path of a point that is travelling
towards or away from a fixed origin at a constant speed and constant velocity . Velocity is a
measure of speed in a particular direction.
This is what it looks like:
As if all this wasn't enough, Archimedes investigated many other
branches of geometry. One of his most famous proofs was the
calculation of pi to between 3 10/71 and 3 1/7. (See
Pi, AVery Special Number )
It is said that Archimedes used to get very absorbed in his work
and would draw diagrams in sand, ashes from the fire and even on
himself using bathing oils! One story tells that it was due to this
total absorption in maths that Archimedes was killed. Apparently,
he asked a Roman soldier to stand out of the way of a diagram he
had sketched in the sand. The soldier ran a spear through his