The Life and Times of Archimedes
Archimedes was one of the greatest mathematicians and inventors of the ancient world. His native city was Syracuse on the island of Sicily. When he was a young man, Archimedes was sent to study in Alexandria, which was the great intellectual center of the Mediterranean area during the third century B.C. There he met other brilliant mathematicians who became his friends. Even after they parted, when Archimedes returned to Syracuse, they wrote to each other, sending the problems and theorems they were working on. Thanks to these letters, we have many of Archimedes theoretical writings. Back in Syracuse, King Hiero II, a friend and kinsman, asked Archimedes to use his mathematical genius to create practical solutions and inventions. The wonderful tools and weapons that Archimedes invented made him famous throughout the ancient world, and some such as levers and pulleys are still used today.