Posted: May 22nd, 2023

Pythagoras; the enigma of mathematics

Although little is known about him; for many historical works on him are speculations and mere fiction, it is believed that Pythagoras was born around 570 BC on the island of Samos. Greek proponents of the day were scholars in mathematics, astronomy, music and philosophy which proved to be a precursor to Mediterranean civilization. About 530 BC Pythagoras forsook Samos and found seclusion in Croton, a southern coast of the current Italy. Where he initiated a brotherhood – school, which was to be the vehicle of transmitting the seminal Pythagorean discoveries to later generations. One of the Pythagoras’ key initial discoveries was on acoustics, in which he found that the pitch of sound produced by a string instrument is indirectly proportional to the length of the string, provided that the strings were of the same cross-sectional area and derived from the same fabric. He expressed the resonating harmonics numerically, thus describing tone variations quantitatively. This wonderful discovery made him hold the premise that numerical ratios govern the laws of nature, hence still the universe. His group inquired about number patterns, sequences, series and their varied implication in the universe. They investigated about square, rectangular numbers to mention but a few (Huang, 2005, p. 1).

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