How to Pronounce Pythagoras? (CORRECTLY)
How to Pronounce Pythagoras? (CORRECTLY)

PYTHAGORAS (569 BC-475 BC)
Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician born in
569 BC in Samos, Ionia.
His father was Mnesarchus, a merchant from
Tyre and his mother Pythais a native of Samos.
He is often described as the first pure
mathematician who has contributed immensely
towards the development of mathematics.
Little is known of Pythagoras’s childhood.
Pythagoras, spent his early years in Samos but
travelled widely with his father.

There were, among his teachers, three
philosophers who were to influence Pythagoras
while he was a young man
One of the most important was Pherekydes
who many describe as the teacher of
Pythagoras.
The other two philosophers, who were to
influence Pythagoras, and to introduce him to
mathematical ideas, were Thales and his pupil
Anaximander who both lived on Miletus.
Thales contributed to Pythagoras’s interest in
mathematics and astronomy, and advised him
to travel to Egypt to learn more of these
subjects

In 525 BC when Cambyses invaded Egypt,
Pythagoras was taken to Babylon as prisoner.
There he became perfect in arithmetic and
music and other mathematical sciences taught
by Babylonians
In 520 BC Pythagoras left Babylon and
returned to Samos . He founded a school
called ‘Semicircle’.
Pythagoras founded a philosophical and
religious school in Croton that had many
followers. Pythagoras was the head of the
society with an inner circle of followers known
as mathematikoi.

The mathematikoi lived permanently with the
Society, obeyed strict rules, and were taught by
Pythagoras himself. Bothe men and women were
permitted to become members of the society. In
fact several later women Pythagoreans became
famous philosophers.
The outer circle of the Society were known as
the akousmatics and they lived in their own
houses, coming to the society during day only.
Of Pythagoras’s actual work nothing is known.
Certainly his school made outstanding
contributions to mathematics, and it is possible
to be fairly certain about some of Pythagoras’s
mathematical contributions.

For Pythagoras and the mathematikoi there
were no ‘open problems’ for them to solve,
and they were not in any sense interested in
trying to formulate or solve mathematical
problems.
Rather Pythagoras was interested in the
principles of mathematics, the concept of
number, the concept of a triangle or other
mathematical figure and the abstract idea of a
proof.

•Pythagoras believed that all relations could be reduced
to number relations.
As Aristotle wrote :- The Pythagorean having been
brought up in the study of mathematics, thought that
things are nibblers and that the whole cosmos is a scale
and a number.
This generalisation stemmed from Pythagoras’s
observations in music, mathematics and astronomy.
Pythagoras noticed that vibrating strings produce
harmonious tones when the ratios of the lengths
of the strings are whole numbers, and that these ratios
could e extended to other instruments. In fact
Pythagoras made remarkable contributions to the
mathematical theory of music.
Contributions

•Pythagoras studied properties of numbers which would
be familiar to mathematicians today, such as even and
odd numbers, triangular numbers, perfect numbers etc
•He discovered that any odd number (say 2n+1) can be
expressed as the difference of two squares: 2n+1 =
(n+1)2 –n2.
•The list of theorems attributed to Pythagoras, or rather
more generally to the Pythagoreans are:
•The sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right
angles. Also the Pythagoreans knew the generalisation
which states that a polygon with n sides has sum of
interior angles 2n-4 right angles and sum of exterior
angles equal to four right angles.

•The theorem of Pythagoras – for a right angled triangle
the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the
squares on the other two sides.
•Constructing figures of a given area and geometrical
algebra:-
For example they solved equations such as a(a-x) = x2 by
geometrical means
•The five regular solids:- It is thought that Pythagoras
himself knew how to construct the first three but it is
unlikely that he would have known how to construct the
other two.
•He constructed a polygon equivalent to one given
polygon and similar to another and could construct the
five regular polyhedron

•Many mathematical terms like parabola, lying side by
side, ellipse etc. Can be attributed to Pythagoras.
•Pythagoras studied the properties of areas and
volumes and he was the first to prove that the circle
contains a greater area than any plane figure with the
same perimeter while the sphere contains a greater
volume than any other shape bounded by the same
surface
•In solid geometry, Pythagoras called sphere the most
perfect of all solids. He knew that there were five
regular solids which lie exactly in a sphere namely
tetrahedron, hexahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron
and icosahedrons

•Pythagoras studied the properties of areas and volumes
and he was the first to prove that the circle contains a
greater area than any plane figure with the same
perimeter while the sphere contains a greater volume
than any other shape bounded by the same surface
•In solid geometry, Pythagoras called sphere the most
perfect of all solids. He knew that there were five regular
solids which lie exactly in a sphere namely tetrahedron,
hexahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron and
icosahedrons
•Many mathematical terms like parabola, lying side by
side, ellipse etc. Can be attributed to Pythagoras.

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