Archimedes was the first scientist to use the power of the lever. This gifted Greek
mathematician and inventor once said, "Give me a place to stand and rest my lever on, and
I can move the Earth." He also discovered the compound pulley and Archimedes'screw.
Archimedes was a brilliant mathematician who helped develop geometry. He discovered
the relation between the surface area and volume of a sphere and those of its
A legend says that Archimedes discovered the principle of displacement while
stepping into a full bath. He realized that the water that ran over equaled in volume the
part of his body that was in the water. Through more experiments, he presumed the
principle of ability to float, which is called the Archimedes' principle. According to this
principle a body dipped in a fluid loses as much in weight as the weight of an equal volume
of the fluid.
Another legend describes how Archimedes uncovered a fraud against King Hieron
II of Syracuse using his idea of flotation. The king suspected that a solid gold crown he
ordered was partly made of silver. Archimedes first took two equal weights of gold and
silver and compared their weights when put in water. Next he compared the weights of the
crown and a pure silver crown of identical dimensions when each was put in water. The
difference between these two comparisons revealed that the crown was not solid gold.
Archimedes was born in Syracuse, Sicily. He lived there most of his life. When the
Romans attacked Syracuse, Archimedes invented weapons to defend the city. He is said to
have suggested a method of employing mirrors to set enemy ships on fire. After a two year
attack the Romans finally entered the city, and Archimedes was killed in the next battle.