Eratosthenes (276 BC – 195 BC)

Portrait of Eratosthenes

Hello children!

I’m a student from 2nd Junior High School of Paralia and I’d like to talk to you about a very important scientist who lived in Ancient Greece. His name was Eratosthenes of Cyrene and he really achieved great things!

Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a great mathematician, geographer and astronomer. He was born in Cyrene in 276 BC and died in the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt in 195 BC. Eratosthenes studied in Alexandria and it was believed that he had also studied in Athens for some years.

Eratosthenes was the first person that calculated the circumference of the Earth and he also invented a system of latitude and longitude. He made a map of the known world, as well. Below you can see a reconstruction of his map in the 19th century.

Eratosthenes' map of the world (194 B.C.)

He made a lot of important contributions to mathematics and science and he was a good friend of the great physist and mathematician Archimedes (the person who first shouted “Eureka!”, remember?).

Around 255 BC he invented the armillary sphere and he also found the distance to the sun and the moon. Below you can see a diagram of what an armillary sphere looks like.

As you can understand, Eratosthenes was a very successful man in almost every field of science.

In my opinion, he is a bright example of a person that worked hard and helped the world become a better place!

Chryssa Panagopoulou, Grade 2, 2nd Junior High School of Paralia

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