Home > Mathematician of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 12/9/2007 Next >>

I was an inventor and engineer, creating the first steam engine/steam turbine, the first windwheel (producing power by harnessing the wind), and the first "coin-operated" vending machine.

I taught at the famous Library of Alexandria, where my writings appeared as lecture notes for courses in mathematics, mechanics, and physics.

As a side line, I used my mechanical ingenuity to create devices priests could use in temples to instill faith in non-believers with deceiving "magical acts of the gods."

Published in my Metrica, I am best known for my formula for calculating the area of a triangle using only the three side lengths (sans trig).

I was interested in all forms of mensuration--mathematics, physics, and optics--being the first to prove geometrically the law of reflection for light rays.

Answer: Heron of Alexandria (ca. 10-70)