Facts About Eratosthes

School and Education - General
By: dptstretch    
23-Mar-2014

Introduction:Who? Eratosthes was a scientist during the third century BC...he was actually way ahead of his time. I think you'll agree after reading this list.

  • 01

    The World Is Round

    You remember all the stories about Christopher Columbus falling off the edge of the world? Turns out that even 1800 years earlier there were Scientists in Ancient Greece who thought the Earth was round.

  • 02

    Syene, Egypt

    Eratosthes discovered a "special" well in Syene, Egypt...He knew that when the sun was directly overhead, one could see to the bottom of the well...and that signified that it was noon. Alexandria was due North of Syene...so if he could measure the angle by which the sun off center, he could figure out how big the earth was.

  • 03

    Distance

    Once he had the angle, he needed to know the distance between Syene and Alexandria. This was a cumbersome task...Eratosthes hired a "pacer"...someone trained to walk taking equally spaced steps.

  • 04

    Do the Math

    Having the angle and the distance between the two two cities, Eratosthes estimated the circumference of the Earth to be 24,700 miles . Modern instruments estimate the equator to be 24,902 miles from beginning to end. I would say his clever little theory worked pretty well.

  • 05

    Other Things Attributed to Eratosthes

    While his estimation was close, he apparently did not believe there were other land masses...he thought that beyond Spain and India was just vast ocean. He was the Chief Librarian in Alexandria and was the first to try to put historical event in chronological order. He is also credited with (in some form or another) with the concepts of longitude, latitude, and the musical scales. His interests were varied and his fellow scientists regarded him as kind of a "second rate" scientist.







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