783 words - 4 pages

The most common thing people associate the mathematician Pythagoras with is the Pythagorean Theorem that describes the relationship of the the sides of a right triangle, which is a^2 + b^2 = c^2. Some know him as the first pure mathematician. (Mastin, 2010) His teachings come before other famous philosophers and thinkers, such as Plato and Aristotle. Who is Pythagoras and how did he impact the mathematical world of geometry? In order to answer the previous question, there must be an understanding of who he was, what his teachings were, and how his teachings are applied today.

Pythagoras was born in Samos, Greece in 569 B.C. His marital status is unknown. He was well educated and could recite Homer. He was not only interested in mathematics, but also philosophy, Astronomy, and music. He was taken prisoner and sent to Babylon, where Magoi priests taught him arithmetic, music, and mathematical sciences. When he was set free, he created a school called the Semicircle. He left the school because the leaders of Samos wanted him to be a politician. He then made a school where his followers, the Pythagoreans, were taught, had lived, and had worked. The followers were men and women also known as mathematikoi. The theories and ideas in mathematics that his followers made were accredited to him. They were also a very secretive group, so not much is known how they came up with their ideas and philosophies. (Douglas, 2005) He died in approximately 500 B.C. and his followers, “continued to work for at least 50 years afterward.” (Simonis 168, 1999)

Pythagoras was very interested in the relationship of numbers and their importance in the world. His personal philosophies were based on numbers. Pythagoras thought that the sphere was perfect, so he taught that all planets and stars were spherical because of its perfection. Though he was not the first one to notice the relationship of the sides of a right triangle, he did prove it when others could not. He believed that everything could be described by numbers and mathematics. He attributed more importance to numbers and symbols than just their basic meanings. Irrational numbers are thought to have started with his teachings, but they were contradicting to what he believed about numbers, such that everything can be described as a ratio of two whole...

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