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(born c. 290–280 BC, Syracuse, Sicilydied 212/211 BC, Syracuse) Legendary Greek inventor and mathematician. His principal discoveries were the Archimedes screw, an ingenious device for raising water, and the hydrostatic principle, or Archimedes' principle. His main interests were optics, mechanics, pure mathematics, and astronomy. Archimedes' mathematical proofs show both boldly original thought and a rigour meeting the highest standards of contemporary geometry. His approximation of was not improved on until after the Middle Ages, and translations of his works were important influences on 9th-century Arab and 16th- and 17th-century European mathematicians. In his native city, Syracuse, he was known as a genius at devising siege and countersiege weapons. He was killed by a Roman soldier during the storming of the city.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Archimedes, visit Britannica.com.