Essay about The Impact of Mathematics on the Physical Sciences

2249 Words Feb 23rd, 2008 9 Pages
The Impact of Mathematics on the Physical Sciences
Intro
Many great mathematicians of the past had an impact on physical sciences. This paper will discuss the historical background, respective times, and contemporary and modern societal contributions of three of those mathematicians: Archimedes of Syracuse, Isaac Newton, and Leonhard Euler.
Archimedes of Syracuse
Archimedes was born in a Greek city-state of Syracuse, Sicily in 287 BC. He was killed during a Roman incursion in 212 BC during the Second Punic War. Archimedes was purportedly largely responsible for the defense of Syracuse as they held the Romans off for two years with the use of his war machines.
Most of the information we currently have about Archimedes is anecdotal.
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He also described his method of measuring the sun¡¯s diameter and the heliocentric solar system of Aristarchus. He developed theorems regarding the center of gravity of plane figures and solids. He is most famous for his principle of hydrostatics, which states that a volume of a solid immersed in fluid is equal to the volume of the fluid displaced. His greatest discovery is considered the relation between the surface area and volume of a sphere and its circumscribing cylinder (Archimedes, 2007). Archimedes, too, ranked this his highest achievement and requested that its representation be inscribed on his tomb.
Archimedes¡¯ treatises include On Plane Equilibriums, Quadrature of the Parabola, On the Sphere and Cylinder, On Spirals, On Conoids and Spheroids, On Floating Bodies, Measurement of a Circle, and The Sandreckoner. In 1899 a 10th century manuscript known as a palimpsest, which contained a Greek copy of four of Archimedes¡¯ works including The Method, was identified to be part of the Library of the Holy Sepulchre in Istanbul. In this work, Archimedes explained how he discovered his geometrical results. There are still many works of Archimedes, which are currently lost from antiquity. Some of his treatises were translated into Arabic in the eighth and ninth centuries, but the greatest influence of Archimedes on later mathematicians was not seen until the 16th and 17th centuries when some of his works were

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