(278 B.C.E. - 212 B.C.E.)
"The importance of the role played by Archimedes in the history of science can scarcely be exaggerated. He was emulated and admired in his own day and at successive periods in later times" (Clagett, 1).
During the time period before Archimedes, Aristotle had already effectively drawn a line between philosophy and mathematics. After his date philosophy is carried on without mathematical inspiration. There is an outbreak, known as the Golden Age of Greek mathematics, that just happens to occur in Alexandria during the period 300 to 200 B.C.E.. This period lasted only a short time however because philosophic faith in mathematics gradually disappeared. Philosophers were more inclined to use their intellect to come up with explanations based on simply theoretical assumptions and by faith (Ginsburg, 57). Since philosophy had been around long before mathematics was thought up, it remained the more publicly acceptable way to answer questions. By not linking the two, "they missed a grand opportunity to blow open the secrets of the universe to science, and they bequeathed to posterity, a heavy obstacle to the progress of science as a whole" (Ginsburg, 58). Archimedes works at this time are therefore described as magical and mysterious, rather than explained in the words of a modern day scientist.
"Had he been born in another age... had he come into a different cultural inheritance and had the seeds of his own work fallen upon more favorable soil, he might also have ranked as the greatest of all time" (Ginsburg, 56).
In his time, Archimedes served as a mathematician, physicist, and inventor. Unlike other mathematicians of his day, Archimedes was able to achieve some f...
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- Clagett, Marshall. Archimedes in the Middle Ages Volume 1. Madison: University of
Wisconsin Press. 1964.
- Cooke, Roger. The History of Mathematics. New York. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
1997. pp. 115
- Dijksterhuis, E. J. Archimedes. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. 1987.
- Ginsberg, Benjamin. The Adventure of Science. New York: Tudor Publishing Company.
- Grande, John Del. "The Method of Archimedes," The Mathematics Teacher, Vol. 86,
Num. 3 (Mar. 1993): 240-243.
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