Pythagoras: The Man and the Math

By: Julia

"There are men, gods, and men like Pythagoras.: How true this quote is. Pythagoras was an exceptional man that contributed greatly to our world of music, science and yes, mathematics. With his croton school, he and his Pythagoreans came up with mathematical figures and theories that we still use today.

Pythagoras was born in 569 B.C. in Samos, Ionia who was the child of Pythais, a native to Samos and Mnesarchus, a merchant. He traveled greatly as a child with his father and was taught by the Chaldeans and learned men of Syria.

As a young man he was influenced by Pherekyesm, Thales and greatly by Thales pupil, Anaximander. He visited Egypt, became a priest at Diospolis and learned much about geometry. In 525 B.C. he was taken prisoner, but returned to Samos after two of the quarrelling king died. He then founded the school of semicircle, but left to resist the responsibilities of politics.

After that Pythagoras traveled to Southern Italy where he was disliked for his theories. He then founded the school of croton which was philosophical, relgious and scientific school. They had many rules that made m appear very cult-like and were all vegetarians. Everyone was treated equally, men and women alike, and produces some very successful mathematicians and philosophers. Pythagoras came up with many mathematical, astronomical and musical ideas.

Pythagoras studied many things. He figured out that the ration of the lengths of a string were whole numbers and this can be related to other musical instruments. In astronomy he figured out that Venus was the evening and the morning star. He also though that the earth was a sphere that is in the centre of the universe, which is half correct. He also studied the moon and the way it goes around the earth.

Pythagorasís major contributions to today is his mathematical contributions. He believed all things could be reduced to number relations and came up with different ways to classify them. H3e came up with even and odd numbers, perfect numbers, triangular numbers, square numbers and the properties of numbers. He believed that then was the number of the universe with the first four digits (1,2,3,&4) equalling ten. Pythagoras came up wiht the theory of irrational numbers and the construction of the cosmic figure. An example is that the diagonal of a square is not a rational multiple of its sides and thus is an irrational number. In geometry he figured out that the sum of a triangle equals the sum of two right triangles. He also solved the constructing figures of a given area and geometrical algebra and the first three regular solids and maybe all five. I believe that the largest contribution is Pythagorasí theorem. He figured out that the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides (a(a) = b(b)=c(c)).

As the years passed on many people were not very happy with the Pythagoreans. Some of the Pythagoreans were killed in a riot. Pythagorasí death in 475 B.C. is a questionable death that is very unknown.

Pythagoras was an amazing man. Without him we would not be able to live in the mathematical world we live in today. He gave his life to math and his teachings and set an example for many mathematicians to follow. To not have any written works by him and little information it is amazing that we can still know this man and his theories. By still using his theories I believe we are still honouring him and his lifetime of work I think he deserves it.