Archimedes of Syracuse

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b. 287 BC
d. 212 BC
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Greek engineer who made the first measurement of specific gravity.
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He studied in Alexandria, after which he returned to Syracuse where he spent most of the rest of his life. He made many mathematical discoveries, including the most accurate calculation of pi made up to that time. In engineering he was the founder of the science of hydrostatics. He is well known for the discovery of "Archimedes" Law', that a body wholly or partly immersed in a fluid loses weight equal to the weight of the fluid displaced. He thus made the first measurement of specific gravity.
Archimedes also proved the law of the lever and developed the theory of mechanical advantage, boasting to his cousin Hieron, "Give me a place to stand on and with a lever I will move the whole world." To prove his point, he launched one of the biggest ships built up to that date. During his time in Egypt, he devised the "Archimedean Screw", still used today in Middle Eastern countries for pumping water. He also built an astronomical instrument to demonstrate the movements of the heavenly bodies, a form of orrery.
He was General of Ordnance to Heiron, and when the Romans besieged Syracuse, a legionary came across Archimedes drawing geometrical diagrams in the sand. Archimedes immediately told him to 'Keep off and the soldier killed him. He also experimented with burning glasses and mirrors for setting fire to wooden ships.
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Further Reading
L.Sprague de Camp, 1963, Ancient Engineers, Souvenir Press. E.J.Dijksterhuis, 1956, Archimedes, Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
IMcN

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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