Apollonius of Perga was an ancient Greek mathematician and astronomer (c.240 BC- 190 BC) known for his work on solid geometry and mathematical theorems. Perga was a Hellenized city in Pamphylia, Anatolia (modern Turkey), whose ruins still stand, and was a centre of Hellenistic culture. Apollonius derived the four conic sections that modern mathematicians use: the circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbola. He achieved this using the section obtained from a plane cutting through two inverted cones. Apollonius defined the definitions of the terms of ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola that we still use today, and he derived a number of other mathematical theorems on plane and solid geometry.
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- 24/11/2023 - 0 CommentsApollonius of PergaRead More
- 31/08/2023 - 0 CommentsCatherine the Great of Russia and Education ReformRead More
Catherine the Great is one of the most interesting female figures in history. She led an eventful but fruitful life, and she was a strong advocate for Enlightenment thinking. In this blog article, we take a look at her studious character and her influence on the educational reforms of Russia. During her unhappy marriage to Peter III, Catherine passed the time reading. She was particularly interested in works on political philosophy, literature, and history. She devoured the works of thinkers such as Plato and Voltaire, which Is how she became introduced to the French Enlightenment.
- 08/08/2023 - 0 CommentsPlatoRead More
Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Athens during the classical period around 428 BC to 348 BC. Plato founded the Academy in Athens, a school of philosophy and research. His teachings and ideas would later become known as Platonism. Plato was a pen name, derived from a nickname given to him by his wrestling coach when he was a young man, which referred to his broad shoulders (as platon means flat in Greek). His actual name was Aristocles.
- 25/07/2023 - 0 CommentsEuclid of AlexandriaRead More
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!
- 18/07/2023 - 0 CommentsPlato’s AcademyRead More
Founded in 387 BC by Greek philosopher Plato, the Academy was situated just outside the city of Athens, outside of the city walls. Before the actual building was built, intellectual gatherings were held in a garden area surrounded by sculptures, olive trees and lined with temples. This area was often used for recreation and group meetings and activities. When Plato bought the land, he began to hold casual meetings with other thinkers long before the Academy building itself was ever built. Considered the first ever university in the world, it was not exactly like a school or university today as it was not as structured, but its attendees could discuss many subjects including philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, politics, and physics.
- 21/06/2023 - 0 CommentsPappus of AlexandriaRead More
Pappus of Alexandria (c290-c350 AD) was one of the last great Greek mathematicians of antiquity. Pappus was the most important mathematical author writing in Greek during the later Roman Empire and is well known for his compendium of mathematics in eight volumes, the bulk of which survives. It covers a wide range of topics, including geometry, recreational mathematics, doubling the cube, areas and volumes of solids, projective geometry and polyhedra. This great voluminous collection is known as the synagogue (“collection” in Greek).
- 06/01/2023 - 0 CommentsOwls in the Ancient WorldRead More
Ever wondered why we picked an owl to be our mascot? Well, in the ancient Greek world, owls were a symbol of wisdom. The owl became the favoured animal of Athena, goddess of wisdom and became her symbol. Athena’s ‘little owl’ symbol was often used to protect finance and is often represented on coinage.
- 22/12/2022 - 0 CommentsAristarchus of SamosRead More
Aristarchus of Samos (310BC-230BC) was a Greek astronomer who maintained that the Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun. Aristarchus’s work on the motion of the Earth has not survived but his ideas are known from references by the Greek mathematician Archimedes, the Greek biographer Plutarch, and the Greek philosopher Sextus Empiricus. Archimedes said in his Sand-Reckoner that Aristarchus had proposed a new theory which, if true, would make the universe vastly larger than was believed (this is because a moving Earth should produce a parallex, or annual shift, in the apparent positions of the fixed stars, unless the stars are very far away indeed).
- 16/09/2022 - 0 CommentsMarguerite de Navarre 1492-1549Read More
In this blog, we take a look at the life and works of another queen, this time from across the pond in France. Marguerite de Navarre was born on 11th April 1492 to learned parents, who were known to keep large libraries. Although from a privileged background, Marguerite did much for the poor and underprivileged as well as being a religious mediator and later, a respected Renaissance writer and philosopher. Her work, Heptameron, a collection of short stories written in 1558, being the most memorable of her works.
- 26/08/2022 - 0 CommentsHypatiaRead More
Hypatia, born around 355 AD in Alexandria, Egypt, and died in March 415 AD, was a Greek mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who lived in a very turbulent era in Alexandria’s history. She is the earliest female mathematician of whose life and work is known in reasonable detail. Hypatia was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria, himself a mathematician and astronomer and the last attested member of the Alexandrian Museum, which was a great library, teaching and research centre, rather like a modern university. Theon is best remembered for the part he played in the preservation of Euclid’s ‘Elements’, but he also wrote extensively and commented on Ptolemy’s great astronomical work, ‘Almagest’ and ‘Handy Astronomical Tables’.
- 10/08/2022 - 0 CommentsAristotleRead More
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist, born 384 BC in Stagira in a Northern Greek province of Macedonia, and died alone in 322 BC in Chalkis, in the Greek island of Euboea. He is now regarded as the Father of Modern Science and the Scientific Method, Logic and Biology. He was 62 when he died and at the height of his powers: a scholar whose scientific explorations were as wide ranging as his philosophical speculations were profound; he was a teacher who enchanted and inspired the brightest youth of Greece; a public figure who lived a turbulent life in a turbulent world.
- 02/08/2022 - 0 CommentsElizabeth I and her Illustrious EducationRead More
Elizabeth I is often thought of as one of the greatest monarchs in British history and she demonstrated considerable show of strength and courage that would guide her through the darkest periods of her reign. Perhaps much of the success of her reign was also due in part to her great intelligence and education that was luckily offered to her from a young age.
- 20/12/2021 0 CommentsDemocritus: The Laughing PhilosopherRead More
As the philosopher Nietzsche famously said: “He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and ran and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying”. This is certainly true when it comes to humanity’s understanding of the universe, something which has evolved over more than 2000 years and is the subject of ongoing discovery.
- 16/04/2021 - 0 CommentsPythagorasRead More
Pythagoras of Samos left his native Aegean island in about 530BC and settled in the Greek colonial city of Croton, on the southern coast of modern Italy. Although the date of his birth is not certain, he was probably by that time about forty years old and a widely experienced, charismatic figure.
- 17/12/2020 - 0 CommentsPerestroika and the Soviet Education- ‘the winds of change’Read More
The president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, when addressing the audience at a speech in Leningrad in May 1985, was the first man to openly criticise the poor economic situation in Russia. Later in February 1986, he was to make another speech to the Communist Party Congress, stressing again and elaborating on the need for political and economic reform. He called it a restructuring orperestroika. He was also to push for greater openness and transparency or glasnost.
- 11/11/2020 - 0 CommentsArchimedesRead More
Archimedes (287BC-212BC) was a Greek mathematician, scientist, and engineer. Born in Syracuse, Sicily, Archimedes was the son of the astronomer Pheidias. Archimedes ranks as one of the greatest mathematicians (if not the greatest ever) who ever lived. His mathematical work and inventions were so modern in spirit and technique that they were barely distinguishable from those of modern times. Among his mathematical achievements, Archimedes developed a general method (integration) for finding areas and volumes, and he used the method to find areas bounded by parabolas and spirals and to find volumes of cylinders, paraboloids, and segments of spheres. He gave a procedure for approximating π.
- 14/10/2020 - 0 CommentsAlfred the Great- a king who wanted to educate a nationRead More
Born in 849, Alfred or Aelfred was king of Wessex (a Saxon kingdom located in the south east of England) from 871-899. The youngest of five boys, Alfred never thought he would succeed the throne, nor did he desire it. He is known as the king who saved us from Danish rule, but it is not as well known that he promoted learning and literacy in England.
Dr. Andrew N. Sergis, BSc(Hons), PhD, CSci, CChem, MRSC, Cert. Ed(FE), ATP
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— Dr. A. N. Sergis