Euclid Of Alexandria Essay

980 words - 4 pages

Euclid of Alexandria To describe him as one of the most influential and most widely read mathematicians of all times would accurately portray Euclid of Alexandria. His fame comes from his writings, in particular his masterpiece, The Elements, the long studied thirteen volume work on geometry and number theory. Except for the Bible, no other book has been so widely translated and circulated. It is undoubtedly the best mathematic text ever written and made him known to all as "the father of geometry." As legendary as his work is to the world, his personal like if just the opposite. There is very little known about his life. In fact, his birth and death places and dates are unknown. It is believed that he lived from about 330 BC until about 265 BC, was educated at Plato's academy in Athens and stayed there until invited to teach at Ptolemy I's newly founded university in Alexandria in Egypt. It is there he is believed to have stayed until the time of his death.All mentions of Euclid describe him as fair, kind, patient, someone who had no problem praising others' work, and someone who was ready and willing to help others. However, he was also known to be sarcastic at times. When one of his students, like most high school students, complained that he would never have any use in his daily life for the mathematics he was learning on he had left school, Euclid was quick to respond. He told his slave to give the boy a coin because "he must make a gain out of what he learns." Another story has Ptolemy wanting Euclid to give him a shortcut to learning geometry, rather than leaning all the theorems. Euclid replied, "There is no royal road to geometry," and told the king to study.Exactly how much of Euclid's original work is in The Elements, a collection of Greek mathematics and geometry, is unknown. Many of the theorems found can be traced to former thinkers including, Eudoxus, Thales, Hippocrates, and Pythagoras. On the other hand, the layout of The Elements belongs to him alone. Each volume lists a number of definitions and assumptions followed by theorems, which are followed by proofs using those definitions and postulates. Every statement was proven, no matter how obvious.The Element was arranged in thirteen books. Euclid structured each book into four groups.Book I - VI -- Plane geometry Books one and two lay down the basic properties of triangles, parallels, parallelograms, rectangles, and squares. Book three deal with the properties of the circle. Book four dealt with the problems of circle and is thought to set out work of the followers of Pythagoras. The work of Eudoxus is laid out on proportion applied to commensurable and incommensurable magnitudes in book five, while book six look at applications of the results of book five to plane geometry.Book VII - IX -- Theory of Numbers Books seven to nine dealt with theory of numbers. Book seven is a self-contained...

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