A majority of the mental and physical tools we use and apply today are founded in the work of the ancient Greeks. The mathematicians, engineers and scientists Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes, and Thales developed the knowledge, theories and ideas in which we live our lives today.
Pythagoras plays a major part in modern day mathematics. Discovering a way to make “order out of chaos”, he was “often referred to as the first pure mathematician.” Born on “the island of Samos … in 569 BCE,” Pythagoras was “well educated.” Individuals known as Pythagoreans admired Pythagoras’ knowledge, and “taught other people what he had taught them” including everything Pythagoras believed to be true, and everything he proved. Pythagoras believed that “mathematics is the basis for everything, and geometry is the highest form of mathematical studies,” and that “numbers have personalities, characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.” These beliefs were miraculous ideas to come upon, as there wasn’t much of a base to go off of. While the basics of math were apparent, most advanced theories were beginning to be researched by brilliant mathematicians like Pythagoras. In fact, Pythagoras proved a theory used commonly today known as the Pythagorean theorem. The Pythagorean theorem states, “in a right triangle, the sum of the squares of the two right-angle sides will always be the same as the square of the hypotenuse (the long side)`.” It is said that “The Babylonians understood this [theory] 1000 years earlier, but Pythagoras [was the one who] proved it.” Another common as well as useful theory Pythagoras came up with was involving triangles once again: “The sum of the angles of the triangle is equal to 180o.” Whether Pythagoras himself or one of the Pythagoreans proved these theories is unknown, as “the Pythagoreans always gave credit to Pythagoras.” Pythagoras’ cause of death is unsure, but what is sure was how tragic his death was. Thankfully, Pythagoras’ legacy and theories lived on when Euclid proved the Pythagorean theorem further a couple hundred years later.
Euclid was the person that worked behind the scenes. You don’t see much of his name anywhere, but without his hard work and knowledge, there would be no way that we would know what is now known as common knowledge. While “nobody knows much about Euclid’s life anymore – it is all forgotten,” what he proved using “logic and reasoning” is still well known. Euclid “is not known to have made any original discoveries, … it is all based on the work of the people before him.” Using the work of the people before him, Euclid wrote a book series known as The Elements. It is divided as follows:
The Elements are divided into 13 books. The first 6 are on geometry; 7, 8 and 9 are on number theory; and book number 10 is on Eudoxus's theory of irrational numbers. Books 11, 12, and 13 all concern solid geometry, and end with a discussion of the properties of the five regular polyhedrons and proof that there can only be these...