Who Invented the Circle?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 26, 2020 3:02:19 AM ET
fdecomite/CC-BY 2.0

Since circular creations appear throughout nature, no man can be credited with the invention of the circle. From the cross-section of a plant stem to the moon and the sun, circles appear everywhere in nature.


Ancient mathematicians, astronomers and engineers observed, measured and were inspired by the circle. Egyptian engineers used methods to compute areas and volumes for circles. As early as 1700 B.C., the Rhind papyrus records a method to find the area of a circular field. Written in 300 B.C., “Book 3” of Euclid's “Elements” deals with the characteristics of circles. Plato's “Seventh Letter” presents a detailed definition and explanation of the circle and the author’s conclusion that no one has ever seen a perfect circle, only approximations.