Who invented the Pythagorean theorem and why?
- Anonymous1 decade agoBest Answer
Pythagoras (569-500 B.C.E.) was born on the island of Samos in Greece, and did much traveling through Egypt, learning, among other things, mathematics. Not much more is known of his early years. Pythagoras gained his famous status by founding a group, the Brotherhood of Pythagoreans, which was devoted to the study of mathematics. The group was almost cult-like in that it had symbols, rituals and prayers. In addition, Pythagoras believed that "Number rules the universe,"and the Pythagoreans gave numerical values to many objects and ideas. These numerical values, in turn, were endowed with mystical and spiritual qualities.
Legend has it that upon completion of his famous theorem, Pythagoras sacrificed 100 oxen. Although he is credited with the discovery of the famous theorem, it is not possible to tell if Pythagoras is the actual author. The Pythagoreans wrote many geometric proofs, but it is difficult to ascertain who proved what, as the group wanted to keep their findings secret. Unfortunately, this vow of secrecy prevented an important mathematical idea from being made public. The Pythagoreans had discovered irrational numbers! If we take an isosceles right triangle with legs of measure 1, the hypotenuse will measure sqrt 2. But this number cannot be expressed as a length that can be measured with a ruler divided into fractional parts, and that deeply disturbed the Pythagoreans, who believed that "All is number." They called these numbers "alogon," which means "unutterable." So shocked were the Pythagoreans by these numbers, they put to death a member who dared to mention their existence to the public. It would be 200 years later that the Greek mathematician Eudoxus developed a way to deal with these unutterable numbers
- 1 decade ago
I have just read this excellent book about mathematics, and I can answer your question quite simply:
The Egyptians and the Chinese knew this law 1000 years or so before Pythagoras, so they are the discoverers of this law. Pythagoras, however, is almost always credited as the contributor.
(Don't you find it cute that the Archimedes' Screw is called so called even though he didn't invent it? What is with the ancient Greeks?)
Pythagoras has a fascination for proving numbers, and he is credited the most because it was he who PROVED that it goes for ALL right-angled triangles. He is a renowned mathematician, and proved this theorem because he believed in proving something first instead of giving a sweeping statement.
His other works are 'perfect numbers like 6 and 28'.Source(s): I read this interesting book. I highly recommend it. It's called Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh.
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- MandyLv 44 years ago
A great man named Pythagoras thus the Pythagorean theorem was born. Dear Pythagoras (may he rest in peace) is up there with great scholars and philosophers like Plato, and Leonardo DaVinci.
- 5 years ago
Though it is considered to be discovered by pythagorus in 14 th century ad....it was done by Baudhayana in 800 BC...in one of the vedas he wrote:
A rope stretched along the length of the diagonalproduces an area which the vertical and horizontal sides make together.
This appears to be referring to a rectangle, although some interpretations consider this to refer to a square. In either case, it states that the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the sides. If restricted to right-angled isosceles triangles, however, it would constitute a less general claim, but the text seems to be quite open to unequal sides.
If this refers to a rectangle, it is the earliest recorded statement of the Pythagorean theorem.
- 5 years ago
Nothing dates older than African history...So to say any Greek or European invented anything is solely for political purposes. Pythagoras and other scholars of European/Middle Eastern descent were students of these secret societies in Egypt. They wasn't even excepted in their own homeland because the knowledge they possessed was foreign to them. Their people didnt understand them and either killed them or forced them to go into hiding/exile. That goes to show you how advance the Egyptians were.
- welcome newsLv 61 decade ago
It was not invented - it was discovered - there is a difference.
Best bet would be the Chinese discovering it first - although the theorem is named after Pythagorus - a Greek.
- 1 decade ago
Pythagoras invented it. It's basic purpose is to solve any side of a right triangle when the lengths of the other 2 sides are known.