Archimedes' Revenge: The Joys and Perils of Mathematics by Paul Hoffman

By Paul Hoffman

An advent to the delights and demanding situations of recent arithmetic.

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Additional info for Archimedes' Revenge: The Joys and Perils of Mathematics

Sample text

While Archimedes was turning the problem over, he chanced to come to the place of bathing, and there, as he was sitting down in the tub, he noticed that the amount of water which flowed over the tub was equal to the amount by which his body was immersed. This indicated to him a method of solving the problem, and he did not delay, but in his joy leapt out of the tub, and, rushing naked toward his home, he cried out in a loud voice that he had found what he had sought. " Archimedes' Revenge 33 What did he find?

C. the king of the city, Hieron, called on Archimedes, a relative, to expel the sixty enemy ships. Archimedes had recently discovered the lever (the occasion for his celebrated statement "Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth"), and he combined levers and pulleys to build huge cranes that hefted the invading ships out of the harbor. The cranes had help in battle from catapults and from a system of convex mirrors that focused sunlight onto the ships, setting them on fire. The Roman fleet was devastated.

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