1/20/14

The Greeks were pioneers in science and reasoning. Using these applications and a good foundation provided by the Babylonians and Egyptians; the Greeks were able to make huge contributions to mathematics. In the short time that they were around they accomplished many things, which allowed them to progress into the society that they were. With the invention of an alphabet and a number system, the Greeks were able to document their finding for future generations. Some of the most notable mathematicians of the time were Thales, Pythagoras and Plato. Many of their theorems that were discovered at the time are still being used today.

Very similar to the Roman numeral system, the Greeks had a numeric system of their own. The Greek numeric system, also known as Attic or Herodianic numerals, was a bass ten number system. This means that numbers were divided into ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. The number system had symbols for ones, fives, tens, fifties, hundreds, and so on. Basic addition was done much like it is today and multiplication was done by continuously doubling the number until the desired number was reached (“Greek Mathematics” 2010).

Thales was one of the first mathematicians to apply the application of science to math. According to Greek Mathematics “Thales is usually considered to have been the first to lay down guidelines for the abstract development of geometry”. Because of the numerous practical applications, geometry was the common form of mathematics at the time. Thales came up with a couple of theorems, but his most famous was known as “Thales’ Intercept Theorem”. Thales’ intercept theorem is about the ratios of various line segments that are created if two intersecting lines are intercepted by a pair of parallels, or DE/BC=AE/AC=AD/AB (“Greek Mathematics” 2010).

Pythagoras is a second Greek mathematician. He is often referred to as the first “true” mathematician. Pythagoras set up a school in Croton around 530 BC (southern Italy). His school taught mathematics in an almost religious way. The basic belief of his school was that “God is number” and that there was meaning in each number. He believed (and taught) that the holiest number was ten; in witch an equilateral triangle was composed of ten specific points. One of his greater contributions to mathematic was the discovery that the sum of the angles of any triangle equals exactly 180 degrees (“Greek Mathematics – Pythagoras ” 2010).

Pythagoras was primarily remembered for what is now known as the “Pythagorean Theorem”. According to Greek Mathematics – Pythagoras, the Pythagorean Theorem is “for any right-angled triangle, the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the square of the other two sides”, or a^2+b^2=c^2. Although there is some evidence of this theorem in ancient Babylon and Egypt, it was Pythagoras who proved it and established its form (“Greek Mathematics – Pythagoras ” 2010).

Plato was another mathematician of huge significance in ancient Greece. Inspired by Pythagoras, Plato founded a school in Athens in 387 BC. Plato saw mathematics as a way to explain reality and the universe. Along with philosophy, Plato set his students on a fifteen-year track to learn mathematics and their applications. Although he did not…