Archimedes, Greek mathematician, c 250 BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Archimedes (c 287-212 BC) is one of the most celebrated figures of the ancient world. His major importance in mathematics was his discovery of formulae for the areas and volumes of spheres, cylinders, parabolas and other plane and solid figures, in which the methods he used anticipated the theories of integration to be developed 1800 years later. Archimedes also founded the science of hydrostatics, the study of the presure and equilibrium of fluids. He is famous in popular tradition for shouting 'Eureka' when he realised that the level of water in his bath rose when he got into it. The Archimedean screw is still used for raising water.