Euclid of Alexandria

Euclid was a Greek Mathematician, born around 300 BC, who taught at Alexandria in the time of Ptolemy I Soter, the Greek king who reigned over Egypt from 323 to 285 BC, after Alexander the Great founded the city named after him. Euclid was Ptolemy’s mathematics tutor, and after Ptolemy asked Euclid whether there was a shorter, easier method of learning geometry, Euclid was quoted as saying ‘oh king, there is no royal road to geometry’; meaning, if you truly wish to learn any subject well, you should study the whole principles of the subject!


Euclid was active as a geometer and logician and is now considered the ‘father of geometry’. He is chiefly known for the ‘Elements’, a thirteen-book treatise which established the foundations of geometry that deeply influenced and dominated the field of mathematics and science until the early 20th century and is still used in the teaching of geometry in schools and colleges. In the elements, Euclid deduced the theorems of mathematics and geometry from a small set of axioms and prepositions. He also wrote works on perspective, conic sections, spherical geometry, number theory, the treatment of data, optics, the property of light, mirrors, and phenomena.


Euclid’s ‘Elements’ has been the second most widely read book throughout Western history, after the Bible! Although there are many lost works, Euclid’s existing works have deeply influenced the whole of Western science and mathematics. For example, the works of Gallileo, Copernicus, Keplar and Newton’s work on optics and the prepositions used in deriving the laws of motion. Euclid is generally considered with Archimedes as among the greatest mathematicians of antiquity and the modern world.  


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