10

We know that Archimedes learnt a lot from his father, Phidias (who was an astronomer) and most likely studied in Alexandria, alongside other great contemporaries such as Eratosthenes of Cyrene and Conon of Samos, with whom he would have collaborated and corresponded with about his work.

Do we however know at all whether Archimedes had any students that he would have taught personally?

  • 1
    The short answer: this is not known, and unlikely. And probably will never be known for sure. – Alex Aug 13 '15 at 15:59
  • 1
    You might get a better answer in the "History of science and mathematics" forum. – fdb Aug 13 '15 at 16:40
  • 1
    I do not think so, as far as I can see, History of science and mathematics is more about the development of scientific and mathematical concepts than about particular historical events or lives – Michal Paszkiewicz Aug 13 '15 at 17:07
  • @Alex why do you think it is unlikely? Many philosophers in ancient Greece had students - Socrates had Xenophon and Plato to name a few, Plato had Aristotle and the list goes on... – Michal Paszkiewicz Aug 13 '15 at 17:09
  • 1
    @michal Paszkiewicz: Why it is unlikely is explained in the answer of moudiz. Because there is no trace of any of them in the surviving literature. – Alex Aug 14 '15 at 2:04
4

A friend of his named Heracleides wrote a biography, but it was lost so the details of his biography is unknown.

But after reading its biography, (in my opinion ) I don't think he had any students. The quote below is from wikipedia

Unlike his inventions, the mathematical writings of Archimedes were little known in antiquity. Mathematicians from Alexandria read and quoted him, but the first comprehensive compilation was not made until c. 530 AD by Isidore of Miletus in Byzantine Constantinople, while commentaries on the works of Archimedes written by Eutocius in the sixth century AD opened them to wider readership for the first time.

I guess if he had any students, they would help more to spread his mathematical writings or

General Marcellus was reportedly angered by the death of Archimedes, as he considered him a valuable scientific asset and had ordered that he not be harmed.[11] Marcellus called Archimedes "a geometrical Briareus".

I guess If there are any students, I guess the general would ask for them or maybe there was a war the students had to participate in the war.

As a conclusion, because the there isn't a biography (and some assumptions I made above), it is hardly likely that he had any students.

  • 2
    This is pure guess work. – fdb Aug 13 '15 at 16:04
  • @fdb the answer is based on a fact and analysis , the fact is there is no biography for him as described in wikipedia so its hardly to know that , and as an analysis from his history there is no students mentioned – moudiz Aug 13 '15 at 16:13
1

It is, at this point in time, unknown as to whether Archimedes had any students or ran a school-(similar to Aristotle's Lyceum or Plato's Academy). If I was to provide an educated guess-(based upon the little that I know regarding Archimedes' biography), I would say......probably not. By today's standards, Archimedes would have been a professional Scientist and Inventor similar to someone, such as Thomas Edison. Due to his plethora of inventions and mathematically oriented writings, I am not sure Archimedes would have had the time to teach! He may have had his own version of Teaching or Research Assistants-(similar to Aristotle's Lyceum), though, based on our current evidence, it seems to have been unlikely.

However, I don't think it's an impossibility that Archimedes may have had a school or a group of students in Siracusa, Sicily or that perhaps Archimedes may have had the ancient equivalent of a Visiting Professorship or Teaching Fellowship at The Alexandrian University in Egypt. Many of the major Greek Scientific and Philosophical Thinkers dating back to Thales-(The Father of Western Science and Philosophy), were also Teachers and Educators. Democritus, Pythagoras, Zeno, Heraclitus, Socrates, Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus and Hypatia, were all professional Teachers and Educators, while also pursuing scientific and/or philosophical writings and research. So it is not necessarily an impossibility for Archimedes to have been part of the centuries long Ancient Greek intellectual tradition.

However, at this point in time, there is just no primary evidence which supports such a theoretical or circumstantial claim and therefore, it continues to remain unknown.

  • 1
    I'm not downvoting, it's an informative assessment, but generally it's good to include some sources with an answer. – rougon Sep 25 '17 at 0:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.