Happy Birthday Archimedes (?)

This just in … the Register is marking Archimedes’ birthday (2300 … just the year, exact date unknown) with a lengthy feature, noteworthy for printing Greek in a non-Greek newspaper, if nothing else (I think this is Doric too!). In any event, here’s the first couple of paragraphs:

Happy birthday Archimedes! The Syracusan mathematician, engineer and philosopher came into the world in 287BC. We don’t know the exact date of his birth 2,300 years ago, but an appreciation of the twenty-third centenary of his birth seems apt.

Archimedes is most famous for four things. His utterance “Give me a [firm] place to stand and I will move the earth” (ΠΑ ΒΩ ΚΑΙ ΧΑΡΙΣΤΙΩΝΙ ΤΑΝ ΓΑΝ ΚΙΝΗΣΩ ΠΑΣΑΝ*) means he’s credited as a pioneer of the study of leverage and mechanical advantage. That expertise is the reason for his second claim to fame, namely some rather nifty weapons deployed in the siege of Syracuse – most famously a crane-type “Claw” and, according to legend, “The Death Ray”, an array of mirrors (possibly polished shields) used to focus sunlight on approaching ships, apparently resulting in said ships bursting into flame. He also devised the first law of hydrostatics** during his “Eureka” moment in the bath. His screw for lifting water is also noteworthy. […]

Classical Words of the Day

Latinitweets: