Mathematics. What do you think about it? For many people, it is just a simple lesson from the school curriculum. But can you imagine our modern world without mathematics? There will be nothing without it. You will not be able to call your friend or to buy a simple thing. Yes – yes, it is not a joke. Mathematics is the most ancient science above all other ones. It is a core of all other sciences, which all together improve the modern world of technologies and facilitate people’s lives. However, it was not discovered on its own; it was opened by several ancient scientists a long time ago. Thus, the main question is “Who is the father of mathematics?” And if you do not have an answer to it, then read the article to find out.
Who is known as the father of mathematics?
There is no simple answer, many named ancient Greek philosophers as inventors of mathematics. That is why we present to you here the top 3 list scientist, who are considered to be the fathers of mathematics.
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1. Archimedes (c. 287 BC - 212 BC)
Archimedes was born to the family of an astronomer. From the early childhood, he was interested in mathematics, science, poetry, politics, and military tactics. Thus, he decided to attend the School of Mathematics in Egypt and spend all his life discovering this great science. Archimedes is famous for his many significant achievements, which are used till today.
He invented a pulley system to help sailors move heavy objects that could not be moved with hands. It was he who discovered the actual value of PI. Archimedes also invented rock-throwing catapults and The Claw of Archimedes. Another of his invention was the Archimedes Screw, which was designed to remove water from the hold of a large ship.
And his famous story if you do not know it still:
After King Hieron got his crown made of gold, he decided to check it anyway. Since he had some doubts that it was made of silver instead of gold, he told Archimedes, as the most significant Greek scientist at that time, to check it somehow. And everything became clear to Archimedes when he was taking a bath. He saw how water started to overflow, as he got into the tub, and discovered a new mathematical rule. He found out that the object volume can be measured by the amount of flowing water when placing this object in this water. Later this was called “Archimedes Principle.”
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Archimedes is for sure considered to be the most prominent father of mathematics. His most significant works include:
- "On the Equilibrium of Planes” (two volumes)
- "On the Measurement of a Circle”
- "On Spirals”
- "On the Sphere and the Cylinder” (two volumes)
- "On Conoids and Spheroids”
- "On Floating Bodies” (two volumes)
- "The Quadrature of the Parabola”
- "Archimedes' cattle problem”
- "The Sand Reckoner”
- "The Method of Mechanical Theorems”
2. Euclid (c. 325 BC – 265 BC)
Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about this great founder of mathematics. The only thing is that he was taught in Alexandria in the time of Ptolemy I Soter, and even some historians now are arguing on the possible fact of Euclid being older that Archimedes. It is likely that Euclid studied at Plato’s Academy in Athens and was taught geometry by Eudoxus.
He is known widely with his greatest work “Elements,” which was compiled from the most prominent works of other ancient scientists. Some historians say “Elements” was possibly written by several authors, but the most historians stick to the version that Euclid was the only author of it. This work is describing everything starting from the basic elementary general mathematician rules to the highest geometry and algebra notions. This significant work "Elements" was very popular among Archimedes, Apollonius of Perga, and other prominent men, whose researches were also done in the field of mathematics and mechanics. Besides this compilation, which includes more than ten books, Euclid wrote the following:
- “On Divisions”
- “Surface-loci” (in two books)
3. Thales of Miletus (c. 625 - c. 547 BC)
Thales of Miletus was a philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer, as well as the founder of the Milesian school. He was one of the Seven Sages of Greece and is considered to be the principal father and founder of ancient philosophy, science, mathematics, and physics in Ionia.
Thales of Miletus became famous for predicting a solar eclipse. Moreover, Thales could determine the time of the solstices and equinoxes, he divided the celestial sphere into 5 zones, introduced the calendar, defined the year to be 365 days and divided a year into 12 months with 30 days each.
But what was the most important at those days he found out the way to explain all the world and universe processes with the help of theories and hypothesis instead of using the mythological explanations. He is considered to be the first who discovered geometry with its main theorems.
These were the greatest and the first fathers of mathematics, whose rules, theorems and axioms are still alive and and laid the foundation for the beginning of all the modern mathematics now.
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