PBS Documentary: The Infinite Secrets of Archimedes
The Mathematics Department
May 26, 2014
Bailey Hall 207
Refreshments will be served in Bailey Hall 204 4:45pm
The Infinite Secrets of Archimedes Archimedes (287BCE-212BCE) is universally considered to be the greatest mathematician and scientist of classical antiquity. His many contributions include:
- computations of areas and volumes using the “Method of Exhaustion”
- a very accurate computation of the value of π (He showed that "3 1 ⁄7 < π < 3 10 ⁄71")
- the foundations of hydrostatics (which concerns how a solid floats in a fluid)
- the law of the lever
He also developed military machines that were used in the defense of Syracuse (his hometown, on the island of Sicily) against the invading Romans, and he invented the screw pump (now known as the “Archimedes screw”).
What many consider to be his most astonishing contribution is contained in a work called simply The Method. It is the only known example of an ancient Greek mathematician dealing directly with the notion of infinity, and it clearly shows that Archimedes understood the ideas that form the foundation of integral calculus (generally considered to have been invented by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz in the 17th century). But, The Method was lost for over two thousand years after Archimedes. This movie is the story of its rediscovery.
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