Euclid

By: Dahnavon Pippen

Background:

Euclid was born around 330 B.C, in what was thought to be at Alexandria. Some Arabian authors believe that Euclid was born to a wealthy family to Naucrates. It is believed that Euclid was possibly born in Tyre and lived the rest of his life in Damascus. There have been some of his documents that suggest that Euclid studied in Plato’s ancient school in Athens. it is also believed that he later moved to Alexandria in Egypt, where he discovered a new system of mathematics, known as geometry.

How He Became Interested:

Euclid was known as the father of geometry for a reason. He discovered the subject and brought it to the people. At this time this system of mathematics was one of the most complex. After moving to Alexandria, Euclid spent most of his time at the Alexandria library, like many other scholars. It was here that Euclid began developing geometrical ideas, arithmetic theories, and irrational numbers into a section called geometry. He began developing his theorems and put them into a colossal treatise called The Elements.

Career:

Like anaxgoras before him, Euclid wanted to prove that things were true by using geometry to prove them. Euclid than began expanding his theories and proves by using more complex shapes like circles and triangles. Euclid is famous because his books were easy to understand. his books ere used in asia and europe up until the 20th century. Mathmaticians today still study based off of the works of Euclid

Contributions:

Euclid stated that axioms were statements that were just believed to be true, but he realized that by blindly following statements, there would be no point in devising mathematical theories and formula. He realized that even axioms had to be backed with solid proofs. Therefore, he started to develop logical evidences that would testify his axioms and theorems in geometry. In order to further understand these axioms, he divided them into groups of two called postulates. One group would be called the ‘common notions’ which were agreed statements of science. His second set of postulates was synonymous with geometry. The first set of notions mentioned statements such as the “whole is greater than the part” and “things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another”. These are only two of the five statements written by Euclid. The remaining five statements in the second set of postulates are a little more specific to the subject of Geometry and state theories such as “All right angle are equal” and “straight lines can be drawn between any two points”.

Euclid’s career flourished as a Mathematician and the Elements was eventually translated from Greek to Arabic and then into English by John Dee in the early periods of 1570. There were more than 1000 editions of the ‘Elements’ printed ever since its inception, which eventually secured a place in early 20th century classrooms as well. There have been a myriad of Mathematicians who tried to refute and break Euclid’s theories in geometry and mathematics, but these attempts were always futile. An Italian Mathematician called Girolamo Saccheri tried to outdo the works of Euclid, but gave up when he couldn’t pinpoint a single flaw in his theories. It would take another century for a new group of Mathematicians to present new theories in the subject of geometry.

What's the point of Geometry? - Euclid
Euclid Biography

Sources:

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  • "Euclid." - Greek Mathematics for Kids. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.
  • "Ptolemy and Euclid, 17th Century Artwork." - Stock Image C008/4327. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.