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Who was Pythagoras?

Pythagoras (570-490 BC)
Pythagoras (570-490 BC)

Pythagoras was a famous Greek mathematician and philosopher who lived over 2,500 years ago. He is best known today for his theorem about triangles, but Pythagoras was much more than just a mathematician – he was a leader, a teacher, and a visionary. In this article, we’ll learn about his life, work, and the impact he had on the world.

Pythagoras was born on the island of Samos, in Greece, around 570 BCE. As a young man, he travelled to Egypt to study with the wise men there. He also studied in Babylon, where he learned about mathematics and astronomy. When he returned to Greece, he founded a school in Croton, a city in southern Italy. This school became known as the Pythagorean School, and it was here that Pythagoras taught his students about mathematics, philosophy, and music.

One of Pythagoras’ most famous contributions to mathematics was his theorem about triangles. The theorem states that in a right-angled triangle, the square of the length of the longest side (the hypotenuse) is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides. In simpler terms, if you have a triangle with sides a, b, and c, and c is the longest side, then a2 + b2 = c2. This theorem is still used by mathematicians today, and it is known as the “Pythagorean Theorem”.

Pythagoras also made important contributions to music and philosophy. He believed that music was a way to understand the universe and to connect with the divine. He taught that the intervals between musical notes could be described mathematically, and that these intervals corresponded to the harmonic motions of the celestial spheres. He also believed in the idea of reincarnation, and that the soul could be purified through a process of self-improvement.

Learn more about Pythagoras’ in the classic “Lives of the Eminent Philosophers” by Diognetus Laertius, available in the Academy Bookstore.

Pythagoras’ influence on the world was enormous. His theorem about triangles has been used for centuries in mathematics and engineering, and it is still studied and used today. His ideas about music and philosophy have also had a lasting impact, and many of his followers continue to study and practice his teachings. In addition, Pythagoras was a charismatic leader who inspired many people to follow his teachings. He and his followers formed a community that lived according to strict rules and regulations, and this community became known as the “Pythagorean Brotherhood”.

In conclusion, Pythagoras was a fascinating and influential figure who made important contributions to mathematics, music, and philosophy. His theorem about triangles is still used today, and his ideas about music and the soul continue to inspire people. He was a visionary who saw the connections between different areas of knowledge, and he was a leader who inspired many to follow his teachings. Whether you’re interested in mathematics, music, or philosophy, there is much to learn from the life and work of Pythagoras.

This article was composed by ChatGPT with directions and editing from William C. Michael.

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