Adult Professionals, Mechanics. Theme: Archimedes

26th February 2020

Archimedes

This could be an interesting website for you: https://www.engineering.com/Library/ArticlesPage/tabid/85/ArticleID/12/categoryId/5/Archimedes-of-Syracuse.aspx

The whole article is quite long, consequently I have been selective and ‘cherry-picked’ information. 

Born: 287 BC in Syracuse, Sicily
Died: 212 BC in Syracuse, Sicily
Archimedes’ father was Phidias, an astronomer. A friend of Archimedes called Heracleides wrote a biography of him but sadly this work is lost. How our knowledge of Archimedes would be transformed if this lost work were ever found.

It is reported by some authors that he visited Egypt and there invented a device now known as Archimedes’ screw. This is a pump, still used in many parts of the world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IsqAejuaBw (theory)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EECNgK_Cv0 (practical application)

Yet Archimedes, although he achieved fame by his mechanical inventions, believed that pure mathematics was the only worthy pursuit. He is considered by most historians of mathematics as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.

The Sandreckoner is a remarkable work in which Archimedes proposes a number system capable of expressing numbers up to 8×1016 in modern notation. He argues in this work that this number is large enough to count the number of grains of sand which could be fitted into the universe. There are also important historical remarks in this work, for Archimedes has to give the dimensions of the universe to be able to count the number of grains of sand which it could contain. He states that Aristarchus has proposed a system with the sun at the centre and the planets, including the Earth, revolving round it. There are other sources which mention Archimedes’ work on distances to the heavenly bodies. For example in Osborne reconstructs and discusses:-

…a theory of the distances of the heavenly bodies ascribed to Archimedes, but the corrupt state of the numerals in the sole surviving manuscript [due to Hippolytus of Rome, about 220 AD]means that the material is difficult to handle.Ascribed to is similar to ‘attributed to’ – when we don’t have source material to proof positively. Here we have a mixture of science AND history.
Image result for archimedes screw
Image result for archimedes screw

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