Next Sable screen shotClick here |

Prior Sable screen shotClick |

century BC, apparently for most of his life on the island of Sicily. He

is generally accounted the greatest of the ancient mathematicians,

as well as a major contributor to what is known today as physics. A great many of his works

have, alas, been lost. One survivor is__
Psammites__ (=__ Sand Reckoner__),** in which Archimedes **

attempted to calculate the number of sand grains in the universe. 2300 years ago the universe

was believed to be much smaller than it is generally observed to be today. This was fortunate as

one of Archimedes' first tasks was to invent new numbers to describe the vast quantities (8

followed by 63 zeros) he was calculating. The text mentions the heliocentric ideas of

Aristarchus of Samos, and makes some estimates of both the size of the Earth and the distance

to other celestial bodies.

Archimedes later composed a forty-four line poem in which he poses what is known today as

the Cattle Problem to Eratosthenes and other leading lights of the day. An answer to the

simultaneous Diophantine equations was finally found in 1880, and is a number less than 8

followed by 206,554 zeros, which is likely somewhat of an over-estimate of the cattle of the Sun

or even the sand grains in the modern universe.

Paper, vellum and papyrus all being very expensive and labor-intensive to produce in

Archimedes' time he worked in trays of sand, so the nickname Sand Reckoner was an inside

joke.

have, alas, been lost. One survivor is

attempted to calculate the number of sand grains in the universe. 2300 years ago the universe

was believed to be much smaller than it is generally observed to be today. This was fortunate as

one of Archimedes' first tasks was to invent new numbers to describe the vast quantities (8

followed by 63 zeros) he was calculating. The text mentions the heliocentric ideas of

Aristarchus of Samos, and makes some estimates of both the size of the Earth and the distance

to other celestial bodies.

Archimedes later composed a forty-four line poem in which he poses what is known today as

the Cattle Problem to Eratosthenes and other leading lights of the day. An answer to the

simultaneous Diophantine equations was finally found in 1880, and is a number less than 8

followed by 206,554 zeros, which is likely somewhat of an over-estimate of the cattle of the Sun

or even the sand grains in the modern universe.

Paper, vellum and papyrus all being very expensive and labor-intensive to produce in

Archimedes' time he worked in trays of sand, so the nickname Sand Reckoner was an inside

joke.