Who was Euclid?


Quick Answer

Euclid was a Greek mathematician in the Egyptian city of Alexandria during the 3rd and 4th centuries. He was sponsored by the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy I and wrote “Elements,” an influential, 13-volume collection of math books. Euclid of Megara was a Greek philosopher and student of fellow Greek philosopher Socrates.

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Full Answer

In “Elements,” Euclid uses postulates, definitions and propositions to explain proofs. The collection includes discussions of circles, irrational numbers and number theory. It also includes three dimensional geometry and plane geometry. In addition to “Elements,” five of Euclid’s published works on math and astronomy are still in existence; “Data,” “Optics,” “Phaenomena,” “On Divisions of Figures” and “Catoptrics.” Some of the lost published works attributed to Euclid include “Porisms,” “Surface Loci” and “Pseudaria.”

While some consider Euclid to be the father of geometry, others believe he simply perfected the work of other mathematicians who came before him. Euclid, who taught and wrote at the Library at Alexandria, lived from 323 to 283 BC. Euclid of Megara, lived from 435 to 365 BC and founded the Megarian School of Philosophy. Like Socrates, he believed virtue is knowledge and that the universe would not change. He also believed philosophy was the only way to understand the universe.

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