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Anaxagoras of Clazomenae,
(c. 500- c 428 BC)

Anaxagoras, born at Clazomenae which is near Smyrna, was a credible mathematician with stronger interests in philosophy. He was one of the first philosophers to settle in Athens, but he is of interest to us primarily because of his reported interest in squaring the circle. Whether this is true or not, it sets the earliest recorded time that the squaring the circle problem was recognized as a purely mathematical problem. This is also the time of the formation of the three great problems of antiquity --- squaring the circle, trisecting an angle, and doubling the cube.

A brief biography:

The Heroic Age

This has been called the heroic age of Greek mathematics for the reason that the Greeks attempted to solve these very difficult problems. That they are difficult is evidenced from that fact that it would be two millennia before their resolution was complete. They would tempt, perplex, and ultimately resist the efforts of the very best mathematicians of every age until the tex2html_wrap_inline87 century. Attempts to solve these problems would drive the development of mathematics up to modern times.




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Don Allen
Mon Feb 3 08:14:29 CST 1997