Archimedes

Archimedes was ancient Greek inventor & mathematician. Born in 287 B.C
Archimedes t-shirts available on Amazon USA & Amazon Germany

You may recognize the name Archimedes, but unless you are a historian or a mathematician you’re unlikely to know why you should care about him or his discoveries.

Archimedes was a toga-wearing Greek mathematician, born in 287 B.C., over two millennium ago. He was chosen by historyten.com as one of their “most famous scientists.” His father was an astronomer and the family lived in the seaside city of Syracuse. Archimedes spent a large part of his life in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

This is important because Alexandria had the great Ptolemy Legides, which was a world famous library, later destroyed. Inclined towards learning from his youth Archimedes spent much of his time in Alexandria at the library studying science, astronomy, physics, mechanics, and engineering. This paid off and today our world exists as it is partly because of his discoveries.

For instance, it was Archimedes who used calculus to calculate the volume of a circle and the quantity of a sphere. He defined the correct estimation of pi and invented a math system for expressing massive numbers.

Still numerous cartoons and comics depict Archimedes as a naked man running around shouting “Eureka” at one of his discoveries. Likely this never happened, but shouting “Eureka” after a discovery has become tradition and easier to visualize than understanding his inventions.

Archimedes’ Principle is the principle of buoyancy
Archimedes’ Principle is the principle of buoyancy

Archimedes’ Principle is the principle of buoyancy. If an item is placed in liquid and forced down, the result will equal the weight of the applied force and the fluid displaced by the item.

Archimedes’ Screw pumping water
Archimedes’ Screw pumping water

Archimedes’ Screw was a device used to transfer water up hill. It worked in irrigation before the establishment of pumping systems and was used to irrigate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Archimedes’ Iron Claw
Archimedes’ Iron Claw

Archimedes’ Iron Claw was a huge fishing rod with a hook at one end and anchored inside a battlement defending a seaside at the other end. The Claw could then be used to “hook” the end of an attacking ship and capsize the vessel.

Unfortunately, it was the Claw that instigated Archimedes death. The story goes like this.

During the war of Syracuse in 241 B.C. the Claw sank Roman ships commanded by Roman Commander Marcellus. Syracuse defeated the Romans.

Marcellus was impressed by the the Iron Claw and ordered soldiers to bring the inventor to him— alive. Archimedes, hyper focused had very poor political instincts. He said no, he was working on a mathematical diagram and didn’t have time. This didn’t go over well and one of the soldiers stabbed Archimedes. Archimedes died at the age of 75 in 212 B.C. and it’s likely that the soldier didn’t fare too well, either.

Still the instrument of his death, the “Claw,” was checked in 1999 A.D. and still worked.

Most of what is known about Archimedes is from histories written centuries after his death. These works have been lost then rediscovered. A manuscript by Isidorus is kept in the library in Jerusalem.

Written by Richard Marrison
Anthropologist
M.S., Eötvös Loránd University
Budapest, Hungary
historytenhq@gmail.com
historyten.com

Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. So here are a few fabulous ladies from history to celebrate.

All these wonderful women are available on Amazon as T-shirts.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English author of Frankenstein

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) was an English writer. As a teen she fell for romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Unfortunately Percy was already married. Still you can’t tell teens anything and she ran off with him. They traveled Europe ending up in a Swiss chalet belonging to Lord Byron. Here she wrote Frankenstein during a dramatic storm – think lightening and thunderous downpour, although it could have been a light sprinkle. Anyway eventually Shelley’s wife died and the pair married. That didn’t last long as Percy sank sailing during a another storm and Mary, wanting predictable weather went back to England.

Illustration by Kathleen McGuinness. Visit her watercolor portraits.

Mary with Frankenstein T-shirts on Amazon

Georges Bizet

Georges Bizet, (1838-1875) was a French pianist and composer.

Georges Bizet, (1838-1875) was a French pianist and composer. A musical child prodigy his opera Carmen premiered right before his death in 1875 and is now performed all over the world.

Illustration by Kathleen McGuinness. Visit her watercolor portraits.

Georges Bizet T-shirts available on Amazon.com for only $19.95

Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a German philosopher
Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a cantankerous German philosopher born in Poland. A fun guy, he developed a pessimistic philosophy. He believed that man having a will to live is the cause of all suffering and wrote deep philosophic tomes like his World as Will and Representation. Still, at least he wrote nice stuff about religious tolerance.

Illustration by Kathleen McGuinness. Visit her watercolor portraits.

Arthur Schopenhauer T-shirts available on Amazon.com for only $19.95

Baruch Spinoza

Spinoza was Dutch philosopher and one of the great rationalists, a leading figure of the Dutch Golden Age.
Spinoza was Dutch philosopher and one of the great rationalists, a leading figure of the Dutch Golden Age.

Baruch Spinoza born Benedito de Espinosa (1632-1677) was a cool Portuguese philosopher. His thinking helped bring about the Enlightenment. He invented a modern way of viewing one self in relation to the universe. No longer was the universe passing out favors or punishments. The universe was, well the universe, and for our part prayer or meditation was a good idea. Spinoza was one of the great rationalists of his time and a leading figure of the Dutch Golden Age.

Illustration by Kathleen McGuinness. Visit her watercolor portraits.

Baruch Spinoza T-shirts available on Amazon.com for only $19.95

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, revered American poet
Emily Dickinson, revered American poet

Emily Dickinson was a revered American poet (1830-1886). She was a member of a prominent family with strong ties to its community in Massachusetts. She was reclusive most of her life. Her talent was a unique ability to distill meaning from the ordinary things and translate them into poetry.

Illustration by Kathleen McGuinness. Visit her watercolor portraits.

Emily Dickinson T-shirts available on Amazon.com for only $19.95

Herman Melville

Herman Melville was an American novelist, Renaissance poet and a short story writer. His masterpiece Moby Dick chronicled a duel between a great while whale and Captain Ahab of the whaling ship Pequod.
Herman Melville was the American writer who wrote Moby Dick.

Herman Melville (1819-1891) was an American novelist, poet and a short story writer. He was a seaman in his youth. His masterpiece Moby Dick is about a duel between a great white whale and a whaling ship captain Ahab. The whale sinks the ship along with Captain Ahab at the end of the book. Despite this the book has been required reading for millions of school kids.

Illustration by Kathleen McGuinness. Visit her watercolor portraits.

Herman Melville T-shirts available on Amazon.com for only $19.95

Franz Joseph Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was an Austrian composer of the German Classical period.
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was an Austrian composer of the German Classical period.

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was an Austrian composer of the German Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio. He has been called the Father of the Symphony and the Father of the String Quartet.

Though Haydn spent much of his career on the estate of a wealthy family his music circulated and during his life he was the most celebrated composer in Europe. Haydn was a friend and mentor of Mozart, a tutor of Beethoven.

Illustration by Kathleen McGuinness. Visit her watercolor portraits.

Franz Joseph Haydn T-shirts available on Amazon.com for only $19.95