Facts & Biography of Archimedes

Ancient Greek engineer, physicist, inventor, mathematician and astronomer Archimedes of Syracuse was born on c. 287 BC. He is considered to be one of the leading scientists in classical ancient times, even though only limited details of his life are known. Archimedes was not only regarded as the greatest mathematician of olden times but also one of the greatest of all time. His anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the method of exhaustion to develop and thoroughly prove a range of geometrical theorems, including the area of a circle, the area under a parabola and the surface area and volume of a sphere.

Archimedes achievements & early life

Archimedes’ further mathematical achievements consist of deriving an accurate approximation of pi, creating a system using exponentiation for expressing very large numbers and even defining and investigating the spiral bearing his name. He was also one of the first to relate mathematics to physical wonders, establishing hydrostatics and statics, including an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is acknowledged for designing innovative machines like his screw pump, compound pulleys, and defensive war machines in order to defend his native Syracuse from invasion.

Archimedes died during the Siege of Syracuse at around the age of 75 on c. 212 BC when he was killed by a Roman soldier despite orders that he should not be harmed. The tomb of Archimedes was surmounted by a sphere and a cylinder, which was Archimedes request to be placed on his tomb, signifying his mathematical discoveries.

The mathematical writings of Archimedes – unlike his inventions – were little known in olden days. Although mathematicians from Alexandria read and quoted him, the first complete collection was not made until c. 530 AD by Isidore of Miletus in Byzantine Constantinople, while broader audience for the first time was only opened up in the sixth century AD by the commentaries on the works of Archimedes written by Eutocius. The relatively few copies of Archimedes’ written work which had survived through the Middle Ages were an influential source of ideas for scientists in the course of the Renaissance.

In his honour there is a crater on the Moon named Archimedes located 29.7° N, 4.0° W, as well as a lunar mountain range, the Montes Archimedes which is located 25.3° N, 4.6° W. Furthermore the Fields Medal for exceptional accomplishment in mathematics carries a portrait of Archimedes, together with an engraving clarifying his verification on the sphere and the cylinder. The inscription around the head of Archimedes is a quote as an honour to him which reads in Latin: “Transire suum pectus mundoque potiri” which translated to “Rise above oneself and grasp the world”.

Archimedes works were originally written in the dialect of ancient Syracuse called Doric Greek. Archimedes made his work known through communication with the mathematicians in Alexandria during his lifetime. The Byzantine Greek architect Isidore of Miletus (c. 530 AD) was the first one to collect the writings of Archimedes while interpretations on the works of Archimedes in the sixth century AD written by Eutocius assisted to bring his work to a wider audience. Archimedes’ work was translated into Arabic by Thābit ibn Qurra, and into Latin by Gerard of Cremona. After being inspired by the work of Archimedes, Galileo Galilei invented a hydrostatic balance for weighing metals in air and water around the year 1586.


What was Archimedes famous for

  • Archimedes’ principle
  • Archimedes’ screw
  • hydrostatics
  • levers
  • infinitesimals
  • Neuseis constructions

How did Archimedes die

killed by A Roman soldier

Archimedes father


Archimedes wife / married


Archimedes children


Archimedes last words

Do not disturb my circles

Father of mathematics


Archimedes fields

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Engineering
  • Astronomy
  • Invention
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