Cross-Fertilisation of Science and Technology in the Time of Archimēdēs
The mutually positive interaction between Science and Technology is first reminded, and the early traces of such a crossfertilisation are sought in Ancient Greece. Subsequently, this phenomenon is examined during the Hellenistic period. Several technical achievements are found to be inspired by scientific knowledge, whereas Technology did offer to Science some practical ideas and, above all, lots of measuring devices. Within this Alexandrian spirit, Archimēdēs was educated and has produced his mathematical and engineering works. Some of his inventions, probably inspired by his own mathematical findings, are mentioned. A more detailed analysis is presented on the scientific bases of the archimēdean planetarium, admired by Cicero. Further on, the innovative views of Archimēdēs are presented on the hybrid demonstration of some geometrical theorems, via both mechanical and theoretical means. Besides, the strange view of Plutarch is critically examined, according to which Archimēdēs considered as “unworthy and vile” any activity related to machines. In conclusion, this assertion is found to be completely unsupported and arbitrary. Finally, the scientific rationality of the design of machines during the Italian Renaissance is mentioned as a confirmation of the validity of the crossfertilisation process.
KeywordsWorm Gear Late Antiquity Technical Achievement Hellenistic Period Hybrid Demonstration
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