287 B.C. - 212 B.C.


A mechanical genius, his work in catoptrics, the branch of optics dealing with the reflection of light from mirrors, helped delay the eventual sack of Syracuse during the Second Punic War.

Archimedes' researches spanned a wide array of theoretical and practical concerns. His contributions to mechanics, pure mathematics, geometry, and optics have been passed down and form a core component in the history of science.

He was born in the city-state of Syracuse on the island of Sicily and while he apparently traveled to Egypt, he spent most of his life in the place of his birth. Archimedes was a close associate of Hieron II, the leader of the city-state. Archimedes played an important role in developing the defense of Syracuse against the Roman army of Marcus Claudius Marcellus. The defenses, however, only delayed the eventual sack of Syracuse by the Romans. Archimedes died in that sack.

What we know of Archimedes is anecdotal and apocryphal through the stories of Plutarch, Livy, and Polybius. For example it is part of the Archimedean mythology that he ran through Syracuse stark naked shouting "Eureka!" after discovering the proportion of gold and silver in one of Hieron's wreaths. He accomplished this discovery by weighing the wreath in water and apparently he was in the bath at the time. That he used mirrors to burn the invading Roman ships is also unlikely, but part of the myth.

The following works of Archimedes' survive in our libraries: On the Sphere and Cylinder; Measurement of a Circle; On Conoids and Spheroids; On Spirals; On Plane Equilibriums; The Sand Reckoner; Quadrature of the Parabola; On Floating Bodies; Stomachion (fragment).

It seems only natural that Archimedes would be a pitcher when it comes to cosmic baseball.


YEAR  TEAM              ERA     IP  Won     Lost    Win Pct     SO
----  ---------------  ------  ---- ------  ------  --------- ------
1993  Ionians           3.82    179     13       9   .591        128
1994  Ionians           3.45    193     15       7   .682        118
1995  Ionians           3.02    223     12      12   .500        124

           TOTALS       3.43    595     40      28   .591        370

Archimedes at Clark University's Mathematics History Site

An Archimedes Homepage with Links

Archimedes and Burning Mirrors

Reports on the Death of Archimedes

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Archimedes, 1996 Ionian
Published: February 4, 1996
Copyright © 1996 by the Cosmic Baseball Association