Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pythagoras Calls Earth a Globe

Anaximander and Anaximenes may no longer be household names, but a lot of us remember Pythagoras (ca. 580–ca. 500 B.C.E.) from high school geometry. We all heard about the man who is credited with the Pythagorean theorem (“The sum of the squares of the sides of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse,” or A2 + B2 = C2). He also taught that the earth was a globe—not a cylinder and certainly not flat—and that it was fixed within a sphere that held the stars. The planets and the sun moved against this starry background.

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