Apollonius was known as 'The Great Geometer'. His famous book Conics introduced the terms parabola, ellipse and hyperbola.Apollonius of Perga studied in Alexandria and he then visited Pergamum where a university and library similar to Alexandria had been built.
While Apollonius, 'The Great Geometer', was at Pergamum he wrote the first edition of his famous book Conics . In Conics Apollonius introduced for the first time the terms parabola, ellipse and hyperbola which we use so frequently today.
Conics consists of 8 books. Books 1 to 4 do not contain original material but introduce basic properties of conics that were known to Euclid, Aristaeus and others. Books 5 to 7 are highly original. In these he discusses normals to conics and shows how many can be drawn from a point. He gives propositions determining the centre of curvature which lead immediately to the Cartesian equation of the evolute.
Most of his other work is lost. In fact Book 8 of Conics is lost while 5 to 7 only exist in Arabic translation. However we know something of his other work from the writings of others. We know that he obtained an approximation for better than the 22/7 < < 223/71 known to Archimedes. In On the Burning Mirror he showed that parallel rays of light are not brought to a focus by a spherical mirror (as had been previously thought) and discussed the focal properties of a parabolic mirror.
He was also an important founder of Greek mathematical astronomy, which used geometrical models to explain planetary theory.
References (17 books/articles)
Some pages from works by Apollonius:
The frontispiece from Conics (1710 translation)
References elsewhere in this archive:
Show me the circles of Apollonius
Tell me about the evolute
There is a Crater Apollonius on the moon. There is also a Rimae Apollonius. You can see a list of lunar features named after mathematicians.
Other Web sites:
Clarke University, USA
|History Topics Index||Famous curves index
|Mathematicians of the day||Anniversaries for the year
|Search Form||Simple Search Form||Search Suggestions|