Eureka Man: The Life and Legacy of Archimedes
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Eureka Man: The Life and Legacy of Archimedes

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  45 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Many of us know little more about Archimedes (287-212 B.C.) than his famous exclamation of "Eureka!" upon discovering that the spillage of water produced by an immersed object reveals the object's volume. That seemingly simple insight helped establish the key principles of buoyancy that govern the flotation of everything from boats to balloons.

Archimedes also had a profoun...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by Walker & Company (first published 2009)
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Tim
I got this on a pre-publication promotion (through Goodreads!, my first!), started reading it in October, took me a LONG time to finish it. This is a short book (206 pages of text, almost as many pages of notes and resources), but very dense in content. The book is divided into two parts: The first relates to Archimedes' life and (dizzying) mathematical theories, as well as his machines of war and creative use of pulleys. The second is concerned with the discovery of Archimedes' manuscripts, the...more
Jennifer Mason
Alan Hirschfeld is a professor of physics by day, but does a good job of moonlighting as a historian for this examination of Archimedes and his work.
Reaching back over 2200 years to the Sicily Archimedes knew, he creates the environment in which the mathematician lived and worked. During a brief period of peace and prosperity for his city of Syracuse, Archimedes created the basis for geometry, mathematically defied pii, and the mechanism of levers (and more!). He was heralded as a genius by his...more
Taylor
This book is divided into two parts. The first half is a history of the fabled mathematician, Archimedes: The author gives us a brief biography of Archimedes, examining critically what little historical evidence is available to us; a history of Syracuse, the ancient city where Archimedes lived; examinations of his mathematical triumphs; and, finally, an accounting of Archimedes' legendary role in the Roman attack on Syracuse, his infamous military inventions and his death. Readers who are only l...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
I liked the first few chapters where the author talks about Archimedes and his accomplishments, but I don't think he does a very good job of making these accomplishments come to life or the man behind them for that matter. The math was interesting if admittedly hard to follow in some spots but the thing that really put me off about this book is that 3/4ths of it is a chronology of the works of Archemdies and how it came to be and what we have that has survived to the modern day. The "codex's" an...more
Abigail Hartman
Since little is known about the life of Archimedes, Hirshfeld spends relatively little time attempting to chronicle the events of it. Instead the majority of the book deals with Archimedes' mathematical theories, with their practical application in the realm of war, and with the history of the three Byzantine manuscripts containing his writings: Codex A, Codex B, and, most remarkable of the lot, Codex C (known as the Archimedes Palimpsest). The book is not at all times fascinating - at least not...more
Ed
I am no student of ancient cultures. Before I talk, I should read a book. So I read this one. Very worthwhile on several counts. First, ancient mathematics, despite the fact that I am neither ancient nor mathematical has a certain intellectual appeal. Archimedes rarely comes to life--how can he at this remove? But we have his works however filtered through the centuries and media of information transmittal. This book includes a fascinating and readable account of the varied histories of "printin...more
ej cullen
Professor of physics writes book that is interesting in spurts, but basically esoteric in the extreme except perhaps to those who are educated in his interests. The first twenty pages builds up interest, then wanders into mathematical vagaries. The last chapters revive the reader with the story of the palimpsest. Archimedes (literally "Master of Thought,") is probably a pseudonym, so we don't today even know the man's real name. Whatever his name, well before the arrival of Christ, he gave us th...more
Ron Kastner
The two halves of the book are not well-integrated but each part is interesting in and of itself. It is hard to believe that all Archimedes' writings depend on so few sources. The history and mysteries surrounding Codex A, B and C could be used for a "Daughter of Time" tale. The author might have spent a bit longer describing the new technologies which were used on Codex C after its 1998 purchase and conservation by the Walters Art Gallery; after all they did result in further proof of Archimede...more
Giselle
Oct 30, 2009 Giselle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Giselle by: goodreads
Shelves: first-reads
A great read to one of the world's (not just the ancient world's) analytical thinkers. This book has a lot of good information about how math concepts were discovered over time by Archmedes. Some of the concepts are even illustrated in the text. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to read a great educational, interesting and historical read.
Andy
The first half of this book is a wonderful history of Sicily leading up to the life of Archimedes mixing in some mathematics along the way. The second half tells the story of a lost papyrus, found to be the work of Archimedes. The story of this is interesting, but not as interesting as the first half, in my opinion.
Jessica
I enjoyed the beginning of the book, which was about Archimedes himself, but I wasn't very captivated by the history of his manuscript, although the way it was accidentally preserved is pretty interesting. I wish we knew more about Archimedes. He and Newton top the list of my favorite mathematicians.
Caroline
Intrigued by the TED talk about Codex C, I picked this up and am very pleased that I did! We start at Syracuse, move into Archimedes' actual mathematical and practical works, then end with the story of the last palimpsest. Interesting!
Rebecca
I found this in the library catalog by accident and decided to read it because of the amusing title. Unfortunately, it was extremely boring, so it is being returned mostly unread.
Bruce
Quite a good book. Its only weakness is a bit of dragging in discussing the journey of the manuscript. Made me greatly appreciate the calculus as making things simpler.
Kate
Reading about Archimedes accomplishments and methods is interesting, but this book was very dense and at times difficult to get through.
Amanda
Wow, Archimedes was really, really smart.
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