Euclid has remained one of the founding mathematicians. He contributed many things to geometry due to his keen interest. Due to this reason, the world knows him as the father of geometry. His name is also present in the modern geometry book as “Euclidean geometry”.
Biography – Life Span
Euclid was born in 325 BCE in Alexandria, Egypt. Although much of the information about him is uncertain, therefore, most precise references have been used to assume as correct. Arab scholars write that his father’s name was Naucrates and he was born in Tyre.
He most probably gained basic education at the Academy of Plato – the Greek philosopher. At that time, Ptolemy-I ruled Egypt, since it became part of Greece under the dominance of Alexander the Great.
He studied geometry and the earlier works on it by mathematicians like Eudoxus, Theaetetus, and Phillip of Opus. He compiled their theorems and tried to prove them. He was also asked by Ptolemy-I that if geometry could be learned more easily? The Euclid would reply, “There is no royal road to geometry.” This was pointed to Euclid’s exclusive work – Elements. Proclus – the last of the Greek philosophers write that Euclid wrote his treatise on the influence of Plato.
Furthermore, Euclid also worked on astronomy, eye, and optics. His invaluable work on geometry was considered as the only geometry subject until the 19th century when non-Euclidian geometry emerged. Euclidian geometry covered 2-dimensional values but non-Euclidian geometry introduced the 3rd dimension as well. He died in 270 BC in Alexandria, Egypt.
Contributions and Discoveries
Euclid’s contributions are mainly in the field of mathematics. It has urged historians to mark him as one of the greatest mathematicians. His invaluable additions to mathematics not only revolutionized astronomy and space after many centuries. But also served as the foundation of geometry for all.
- Elements – Euclid’s highly exclusive work became the guideline for generations to come. This book contained compiled work of the mathematicians before him but none had proved them. Euclid compiled, ordered, and proved those theorems. He gave five axioms – universally accepted truths in this book and five postulates – an explanation of truth based on arguments. He had divided the book into thirteen chapters.
- Data – This book contains information on geometric problems.
- Phenomena – The book Phenomena is on astronomy that studies celestial bodies. It also mentions methods used to locate objects on a particular date and time in space.
- Catoptrics – This book contains various theories on mirrors of the plane and spherical images.
- In modern geometry, a part of it is known as Euclidian geometry based on his algorithms and theorems.
- Due to the foundational work on geometry, he was given the title of “the father of geometry”.
- Abraham Lincoln – the US president during the civil war in America used Euclid’s first axiom as an example to show its applicability in democracy. The first axiom says things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. So in a democracy, he referred to equality among all, saying that heads are counted as equal without any discrimination.
- The European Space Agency gave tribute to Euclid by naming their spacecraft as Euclid Spacecraft.