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HISTORY - GREEK PHILOSOPHERS

Euclides or Efklides

Euclides or Efklides (ca.325 - 265 BC)

Euclid of Alexandria is the most prominent mathematician of antiquity best known for his treatise on mathematics "The Elements" . The long lasting nature of "The Elements" must make Euclid the leading mathematics teacher of all time. However little is known of Euclid's life except that he taught at Alexandria in Egypt. There is information that he was born in Megara, close to Athens.

Euclid's most famous work is his treatise on mathematics "The Elements". The book was a compilation of knowledge that became the centre of mathematical teaching for 2000 years. Probably no results in "The Elements" were first proved by Euclid but the organisation of the material and its exposition are certainly due to him. In fact there is ample evidence that Euclid is using earlier textbooks as he writes the Elements since he introduces quite a number of definitions which are never used such as that of an oblong, a rhombus, and a rhomboid.

Euclid also wrote the following books which have survived: "Data" (with 94 propositions), which looks at what properties of figures can be deduced when other properties are given; On "Divisions" which looks at constructions to divide a figure into two parts with areas of given ratio; "Optics" which is the first Greek work on perspective; and "Phaenomena" which is an elementary introduction to mathematical astronomy and gives results on the times stars in certain positions will rise and set.

Euclid may not have been a first class mathematician but the long lasting nature of "The Elements" must make him the leading mathematics teacher of antiquity or perhaps of all time.

 




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