NYSSPE’s Engineer of the Week features Archimedes, an Ancient Greek engineer, astronomer and inventor, who is considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. He is most famous for inventing Archimedes’ principle, which is a method to determine the volume of an irregularly shaped object based on water displacement.
Archimedes was born c. 287 BC in Syracuse, Sicily. During his lifetime, he anticipated modern calculus, founded hydrostatics and statics and designed screw pulleys. Archimedes also invented advanced military strategies in order to defend his hometown city of Syracuse. He designed the Claw of Archimedes, also known as “the ship shaker” would lift ships out of the water and then sink them. He also figured out how to use mirrors as a parabolic reflector to set the attacking ships on fire.
Archimedes died c. 212 BC during the Siege of Syracuse. Atop his tomb was placed a cylinder and a sphere to represent his accomplishments and advances in the mathematical world.