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First then I will set out the very first theorem which became known to me by means of mechanics, namely that
Any segment of a section of a right angled cone (i. e., a parabola) is four-thirds of the triangle which has the same base and equal height,
and after this I will give each of the other theorems investigated by the same method. Then at the end of the book I will give the geometrical [proofs of the propositions]...
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I am persuaded that it [The Method of Mechanical Theorems] will be of no little service to mathematics; for I apprehend that some, either of my contemporaries or of my successors, will, by means of the method when once established, be able to discover other theorems in addition, which have not yet occurred to me.
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I thought fit to... explain in detail in the same book the peculiarity of a certain method, by which it will be possible... to investigate some of the problems in mathematics by means of mechanics. This procedure is... no less useful even for the proof of the theorems themselves; for certain things first became clear to me by a mechanical method, although they had to be demonstrated by geometry afterwards... But it is of course easier, when we have previously acquired, by the method, some knowledge of the questions, to supply the proof than it is to find it without any previous knowledge.
Archimedes
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Probably the closest things to perfection are the huge absolutely empty holes that astronomers have recently discovered in space. If there's nothing there, how can anything go wrong?
Richard Brautigan
Archimedes
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Born:
287 BC
Died:
212 BC
(aged 75)
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