# Mathematician:Eratosthenes of Cyrene

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## Mathematician

Greek geometer and astronomer best known for his estimate of the size of the Earth.

Also famous for:

- his Sieve of Eratosthenes
- his measurement of the obliquity of the ecliptic.

Famously a correspondent with Archimedes of Syracuse, who addressed the preamble of his *The Method* to him.

Custodian of the Library of Alexandria.

Went blind in his old age, and it is said that he committed suicide by starving himself to death.

## Nationality

Greek

## History

- Born: c. 276 BCE, Cyrene, North Africa (now Shahhat, Libya)
- Died: c. 194 BCE, Alexandria, Egypt

## Theorems and Topics

Results named for **Eratosthenes of Cyrene** can be found here.

## Publications

*Platonicus*(on the philosophy of Plato)*Hermes*

### Other works

These works are referred to by other ancient writers, but are now believed lost:

*On the measurement of the Earth**On means*(now lost: recognised by Pappus as one of the great works of geometry)

## Critical View

*... a good mathematician but quite a fop.*- -- 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*: Chapter $\text{II}$: Modern Minds in Ancient Bodies

- -- 1937: Eric Temple Bell:

## Also known as

Ancient Greek: **Ἐρατοσθένης**.

## Sources

- John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson: "Eratosthenes of Cyrene": MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

- 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $\text{II}$: Modern Minds in Ancient Bodies - 1986: David Wells:
*Curious and Interesting Numbers*... (previous) ... (next): A List of Mathematicians in Chronological Sequence - 1989: Ephraim J. Borowski and Jonathan M. Borwein:
*Dictionary of Mathematics*... (previous) ... (next):**Eratosthenes** - 1992: George F. Simmons:
*Calculus Gems*... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $\text {B}.16$: The Sequence of Primes: Footnote $1$ - 1997: David Wells:
*Curious and Interesting Numbers*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): A List of Mathematicians in Chronological Sequence - 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**Eratosthenes of Cyrene**(*c*. 275-194 bc) - 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**sieve of Eratosthenes** - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**Eratosthenes of Cyrene**(*c*.275-194 bc) - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**sieve of Eratosthenes** - 2008: Ian Stewart:
*Taming the Infinite*... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $2$: The Logic of Shape: Problems for the Greeks - 2014: Christopher Clapham and James Nicholson:
*The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Mathematics*(5th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**Eratosthenes of Cyrene**(about 275-195 bc)