The Gold Crown
The king of Syracuse, Hiero, wanted a golden crown. He weighed a
lump of gold and ordered a goldsmith to make him a crown with it.
The goldsmith returned with a crown that weighed exactly the same
as the lump of gold. The king was happy.
After a while,
however, the king grew suspicious. The goldsmith might not have put
all the gold into the crown. He might have used some other metal.
The king called Archimedes to help him determine whether any other
metal had been mixed into the crown.
Archimedes thought and thought, but he couldn't figure out a way
to determine whether the goldsmith had melted silver in the crown.
One day he decided to go to the baths. As he got into the tub, some
water sloshed out. He had solved his problem. Archimedes ran out on
the streets shouting "Eureka, Eureka!" He was so excited that he
hadn’t bothered to put his clothes on!
The experiment was very simple. Archimedes filled a jar to the
brim, dropped the crown in it, and gathered the water that flowed
out. Then he replaced the water in the jar and dropped in a lump of
gold the same weight as the crown. He found that the lump of gold
caused less water to overflow than the crown. This meant that the
crown occupied more volume, or space, than the lump of gold. This,
in turn meant that the crown was not all-pure gold and that the
king had been cheated.
Death of Archimedes
212 BC- When a Roman army under Marcellus attacked the Greek
city-state of Syracuse, a seaport on Sicily, Archimedes organized
the defense. He invented some mechanical weapons, which he mounted
on the city’s walls. These machines were tested in battle.
The Romans lost. Marcellus then decided to besiege the city. The
Roman army set camp.
During a truce, Marcellus studied the city’s walls from
the inside. He noticed that one place in the wall did not have
traps there. During a celebration, the Syracusans feasted.
Marcellus led some Romans to the undefended part of the wall. No
one noticed them.
Whhen the Romans began looting, the Roman general gave orders
that Archimedes was to be spared. Unfortunately, Archimedes was
working out a problem. He had not noticed that the city was
captured. A Roman soldier came and asked him to go with him. When
Archimedes refused to go until he had finished working out his
problem, the enraged soldier unsheathed his blade and killed