# what year was pythagoras born?

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## what year was pythagoras born

**569 BC**in Samos, Ionia and died circa 475 BC) was the first mathematician.

## Pythagoras: Everyone knows his famous theorem, but not who discovered it 1000 years before him

## Abstract

Everyone who has studied geometry can recall, well after the high school years, some aspect of the Pythagorean Theorem. However.

the story of Pythagoras and his famous theorem is not well known.

Some of the plot points of the story are presented in this article.

The famous theorem goes by several names.

some grounded in the behavior of the day.

including the Pythagorean Theorem, Pythagoras’ Theorem and notably Euclid I 47.

The Pythagorean Theorem is arguably the most *famous* statement in mathematics.

and the fourth most *beautiful* equation. There are well over 371 Pythagorean Theorem proofs.

originally collected and put into a book in 1927.

which includes those by a 12-year-old Einstein (who uses the theorem two decades later for something about *relatively*).

Leonardo da Vinci and President of the United States James A.

Garfield. Pythagoras is immortally linked to the discovery and proof of a theorem .

that bears his name – even though there is no evidence of his discovering and/or proving the theorem.

There is concrete evidence that the Pythagorean Theorem was discovered.

and proven by Babylonian mathematicians 1000 years before Pythagoras was born.

### fascinating story

The purpose of this article is to plot a fascinating story in the history of mathematics.

The 4000-year-old story of Pythagoras and his famous theorem is worthy of recounting .

– even for the math-phobic readership.

It is more than a *math* story.

as it tells a history of two great civilizations of antiquity rising to prominence 4000 years ago.

along with historic and legendary persons.

who not only define the period, but whose individual life stories are quite engaging. Moreover.

the theorem seemingly has no ending, as every year students, academicians .

and problem solvers with a mathematical bent tackle the theorem in an attempt to add new and innovative proofs.

In addition, a 350-year-old generalized version of the Pythagorean Theorem.

which was proposed by an amateur mathematician, was finally solved, and made the front-page of the *New York Times* in 1993.

## BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF PYTHAGORAS

The Greek mathematician Pythagoras has high name recognition, not only in the history of mathematics.

Everyone who has studied geometry can recall, well after the high school years, some aspect of the Pythagorean Theorem.

However, the story of Pythagoras and his famous theorem is not well known.

Some story plot points are: the famous theorem goes by several names grounded in the behavior of the day .

(discussed later in the text), including the Pythagorean Theorem, Pythagoras’ Theorem and notably Euclid I 47.

The Pythagorean Theorem is arguably the most *famous* statement in mathematics, and the fourth most *beautiful* equation.^{1, 2}

There are well over 371 Pythagorean Theorem proofs originally collected by an eccentric mathematics teacher.

who put them in a 1927 book, which includes those by a 12-year-old Einstein.

Leonardo da Vinci (a master of all disciplines) and President of the United States James A. Garfield.^{3, 4, 5}

### Pythagoras’ likeness

Pythagoras’ likeness in pictures and sculptures, as shown in Figure 1.

appears in all geometry textbooks, and books about the history of mathematics.

However, ironically, not much is really known about him – not even his likeness.

What is *known* about Pythagoras is generally considered more *fiction* than fact.

as historians who lived hundreds of years later provided the *facts* about his life.

There are definite details of Pythagoras’ life from early biographies that use original sources.

and present him as a deity figure. Consequently, most historians treat this information as legend.

### Pythagoras of Samos

Historians generally agree that Pythagoras of Samos (born circa 569 BC in Samos, Ionia and died circa 475 BC) was the first mathematician.

He is an extremely important figure in the development of mathematics.

Unlike many later Greek mathematicians, who wrote a number of books.

there are no writings by Pythagoras.

However, there is evidence that Pythagoras founded a school (in what is now Crotone, to the east of the heel of southern Italy) .

named *the Semicircle of Pythagoras* – half-religious and half-scientific, which followed a code of secrecy. Because secrecy is often controversial.

Pythagoras is a mysterious figure.

However, the Semicircle was more than just a school that studied intellectual disciplines.

including in particular philosophy, mathematics and astronomy.^{7}

The *scientific* dimension of the school treated *numbers* in ways similar to the Jewish mysticism of Kaballah.

where each number has divine meaning and combined numbers reveal the mystical *worth of life*.

The latter is reflected in the Pythagorean motto:

*Number Rules the Universe*.^{6} The *religious* dimension of the school included diverse lectures held by Pythagoras attended by men and women.

Pythagoreans consumed vegetarian dried and condensed food and unleavened bread.

### Pythagoras’ school

^{10} This result proved the existence of *irrational* numbers.

^{11} This finding greatly disturbed the Pythagoreans.

as it was inconsistent with their divine belief in numbers:

whole numbers and their ratios, which account for geometrical properties.

## THE BABYLONIANS

Babylonia was situated in an area known as Mesopotamia (Greek for ‘between the rivers’).

Mesopotamia (arrow 1 in Figure 2) was in the Near East in roughly the same geographical position as modern Iraq.

^{13} Two great rivers flowed through this land:

the Tigris and the Euphrates (arrows 2 and 3, respectively, in Figure 2).

Mesopotamia was one of the great civilizations of antiquity, rising to prominence 4000 years ago.

Thousands of clay tablets, found over the past two centuries.

confirm a people who kept accurate records of astronomical events.

and who excelled in the arts and literature.

Only a small fraction of this vast archeological treasure trove has been studied by scholars.

The great majority of tablets lie in the basements of museums around the world.

### THE TEACHER WHO COLLECTED PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM PROOFS

Elisha Scott Loomis (1852–1940) (Figure 7), an eccentric mathematics teacher from Ohio, spent a lifetime collecting all known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem and writing them up in *The Pythagorean Proposition*, a compendium of 371 proofs.

As for the exact number of proofs, no one is sure how many there are.

### EINSTEIN’S CHILDHOOD FASCINATION WITH THE PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM BEARS FRUIT

Einstein (Figure 9) used the Pythagorean Theorem in the Special Theory of Relativity (in a four-dimensional form), and in a vastly expanded form in the General Theory of Relatively. The following excerpts are worthy of inclusion.

### The Theory of Relativity and the Pythagorean Theorem

The above excerpts – from the genius himself – precede any other person’s narrative of the Theory of Relativity and the Pythagorean Theorem. Accordingly, I now provide a less demanding excerpt, albeit one that addresses the effects of the Special and General theories of relativity.

### Befitting of someone

Befitting of someone who collects solutions of the Pythagorean Theorem.