Mini Stories from the Life of Archimedes

The Golden Crown

A new crown in the shape of a laurel wreath had been made for King Hiero II, and Archimedes was asked to determine whether it was of solid gold, or whether silver had been added by a dishonest goldsmith. One day, Archimedes took to the streets naked, so excited by his discovery that he had forgotten to dress, crying "Eureka!" (meaning "I have found it!")

Archimedes's Last Problem

During Second Punic War, Archimedes was contemplating a mathematical diagram when the city was captured. A Roman soldier commanded him to come and meet General Marcellus but he declined, saying that he had to finish working on the problem. The soldier was enraged by this, and killed Archimedes with his sword.

Archimedes and his mathematical instruments

Archimedes may have been killed during Second Punic War, while attempting to surrender to a Roman soldier. Archimedes was carrying mathematical instruments, and was killed because the soldier thought that they were valuable items.

The ship shaker

The Claw of Archimedes also known as "the ship shaker" consisted of a crane-like arm from which a large metal grappling hook was suspended. When the claw was dropped on to an attacking ship the arm would swing upwards, lifting the ship out of the water and possibly sinking it.

Archimedes repelled Roman attack with burning-glass!

During the Siege of Syracuse, Archimedes repelled an attack by Roman soldiers with a burning-glass, sometimes called the "Archimedes heat ray". The device was used to focus sunlight on to the approaching ships, causing them to catch fire.

A test of the Archimedes heat ray

A test of the Archimedes heat ray was carried out in 1973. On this occasion 70 mirrors were used, each with a copper coating and a size of around five by three feet. When the mirrors were focused accurately at a plywood mock-up of a Roman warship at a distance of around 160 feet, the ship burst into flames within a few seconds.
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