Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Many of you know that I returned to school a few months ago. Most of you also know that MATH gives me fits. But, finally, a math assignment I could sink my teeth into---because it involved WRITING! The assignment: to put together a creative, fun piece on a person who made a major contribution to the field of mathematics. We could go back as far as we wanted. I went back all the way to 287 B.C..... and here is the result. With tongue in cheek and hat tipped to a mathematical genius...

Ode to Archimedes

Archimedes was born in 287 B.C.. His dad had a thing for the stars.
Archimedes was more interested in things of the earth. Forget Jupiter and Mars.
He used mathematics to invent and to solve. His weapons of war brought him fame.
Those weapons helped hold off the enemies who attacked his homeland with war games.

But, Archimedes was killed in 212 B.C as Romans attacked Syracuse.
The exact manner of death is a mystery, but the irony you just can’t refuse.
His weapons of war may have won many battles. In the end, they did not save his life.
But his contributions to mathematics live on, and indeed, they continue to thrive!

When it came to integral calculus, Archimedes was ahead of the curve.
2000 years before Newton and Liebniz, the rate of change Archimedes observed.
Volumes, areas and solutions were all running around in his head.
He worked out his formulas, solutions and theorems which eventually became so widespread.

His most famous theorem, Archimedes’ principle, gives the weight of a body submerged.
His contributions to the area of geometry also gave mathematics a surge.
Angles and planes and shapes and degrees-- understanding them is not always easy.
Archimedes got it, though, but was his knowledge a gift? Did he really find math to be breezy?

Plutarch said his genius might be a gift---Or perhaps the result of hard work
If that that is the case, it gives us all hope that we’ll get it without going berserk!
Today, we use his work in all areas of life, from construction, to manufacturing… to counting!
And, though I’m a writer, and not into big cipherin’, my knowledge of math is mounting.

"Eureka, I have found it!"- Archimedes once said, as he searched for a ‘royal’ solution.
It’s a cry we can all utter when we study and try and eventually gain mathematical ‘absolution.’
So, thank you, Archimedes for all of your work and for helping increase my brain power.
While I still prefer words over numbers and shapes, from mathematics I no longer do cower.
Source: math.about.com

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