Mathematician:Menaechmus

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Mathematician

Greek mathematician and geometer.

Known for his friendship with Plato.

Apparently discovered conic sections, and used them to provide a solution to the problem of Doubling the Cube using the parabola and hyperbola.


Brother of Dinostratus.


His work on conic sections is known primarily from an epigram by Eratosthenes.

Proclus Lycaeus mentions that Menaechmus was taught by Eudoxus of Cnidus.

Plutarch suggests that Plato disapproved of Menaechmus' solution for Doubling the Cube by using of mechanical devices, which is puzzling -- the proof currently known appears to be purely algebraic.


Some sources, perhaps inspired by Joannes Stobaeus, suggest that Menaechmus was at one point a teacher of Alexander the Great, but, while possible, this is uncertain.


Nationality

Greek


History

  • Born: about 380 BCE in Alopeconnesus, Thracian Chersonese
  • Died: about 320 BCE, possibly in Cyzicus


Theorems


Notable Quotes

There is no royal road to Geometry.
-- To Alexander the Great
-- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics: They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say

The correct attribution of this quote is dubious. Proclus Lycaeus attributes it to Euclid, in response to Ptolemy I Soter.


Joannes Stobaeus ($5$th century) reports Menaechmus as saying to Alexander the Great:

O King, for traveling over the country, there are royal road and roads for common citizens, but in geometry there is one road for all.
-- Quoted in 1989: Petr Beckmann: A History of Pi


Also known as

In Greek: Μέναιχμος.


Sources