Ok, the secret's out. Start ordering your

Archimedes and Eureka -- Nature Abhors a Vacuum T-Shirts.

It was a difficult decision, but the results are in (although we still haven''t heard from Palm Beach County). The top 3 submissions based on the log_{b2}(b^{6}) entries in the first ever MathNotations: Name that Mathematician Challenge are -- in no particular order --

Mathmom

Eric Jablow

tc

I came in a distant 4th (I am going to appeal this). Of course, it was only fitting that I chose the 'Arc-Man' to lead off, since one of my personal favorite posts of all time came earlier this year:

The Genius of Archimedes: Parabolas, Tangents, ....

Anyone recall I attempted my first complicated diagram, suggesting how Archimedes proved that light emanating from the focus of a parabolic surface are reflected in parallel rays (and conversely)?

By the way, one of the better explanations for kids of his discovery of the displacement principle can be found here.

Ok, here are the details:

Mathmom found the following fascinating fact here:

Archimedes invented a puzzle called the Loculus (or the Stomachion,

the Ostomachion, the Syntemachion, or Archimedes' Box). It's like a

huge, complex, tangram. In November of 2003, Bill Cutler used a computer program to enumerate all solutions. Barring rotations and reflections, there are 536

distinct solutions.

Eric actually used something called a book (for youngsters out there, here is a link to explain the meaning of this obsolete term) to find the following information about Archimedes' perspective on pure math vs. science:

ARCHIMEDES OF SYRACUSE (c. 287-212 B.C.), son of an astronomer, was

Greece's star mathematician. By avocation he desired the pursuit of

mathematics proper, and he was wholly and passionately committed to

mathematics at its "purist." But by world reputation he was an

engineer, especially in the field of military engines, even if he

protested that he derived no satisfaction from this kind of work. And

when confronted with the problem of determining whether a golden crown

was made of pure gold or was alloyed with silver, he initiated the

method of Hydrostatics for the purpose.

Scientist-professors will always be the same. Archimedes, when

heading the Weapons Research Group for the Syracuse Department of

Defense, would write letters to friends that he was yearning to return

to the Campus and do nothing but pure research for its own sake. But

he was apparently doing classified work to his last breath, literally

so. And when he found his theorem on Hydrostatics he was so excited

that he insisted on talking about it to the man in the street.

I won't actually publish tc's joke regarding one of Archimedes' engineering feats (young children might find their way to this blog), so I will leave it up to my readers to invent their own...

Finally, I promise, from now on, not to the use the name of the mathematician in labeling the image file! Duh...

## Friday, November 30, 2007

### Eureka! The Results Are In! The Winners Are...

Posted by Dave Marain at 5:47 AM

Labels: contest, Name that Mathematician

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## 4 comments:

Another little known fact about Archimedes: He is one of the few ancient Greek mathematicians (or for that case, any person who lived BCE) to be part of a joke involving a Bollywood actress.

When Archimedes met Rekha, the well-known Bollywood actress (obviously, through time travel), he reportedly said, 'Me Archimedes, You Rekha.'

Eric actually used something called a book...and, does this book have a name? author? publisher? When I was in school "a book" wasn't considered a very complete citation. ;-)

And I'll add a loud

groanfor the Rekha joke above. :-P I think I would've liked tc's better. ;-)mathmom--

Here's the reference to Eric's book:

Salomon Bochner, "The Role of Mathematics and the Rise of Science", p.209-310, [Princeton University Press,

Princeton, 1966], ISBN 0-691-02371-9

As far as tc's joke is concerned, I will email it to the first (2^(-1))^)(-1) who request it by personal email!

haha, I read all of this, but I believe some of the greatest minds in our era come from those who keep Blogs and updated websites cause theres The Cyber Professor as opposed to Archimedes.

But I do think bollywood actress Rekha is a goddess!

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