Archimedes: Separating Myth From Science

Neat article in the New York Times about the influence of the Great Geometer of Syracuse, Archimedes:

“more than 2,200 years after his death, his inventions are still driving technological innovations — so much so that experts from around the world gathered recently for a conference at New York University on his continuing influence.

The death ray legend has Archimedes using mirrors to concentrate sunlight to incinerate Roman ships attacking his home of Syracuse, the ancient city-state in the southeast Sicily. It has been debunked no fewer than three times on the television show “Mythbusters” (the third time at the behest of President Obama).

Rather, it is a mundane contraption attributed to the great Greek mathematician, inventor, engineer and military planner — the Archimedes screw, a corkscrew inside a cylinder — that has a new use in the 21st century. For thousands of years, farmers have used this simple machine for irrigation: Placed at an angle with one end submerged in a river or a lake, the screw is turned by a handle, lifting water upward and out at the other end.”

(the video above is a segment on Archimedes from the late, great SquareOne TV)


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