Astronomer (310 – 250 BC)
Aristarchus of Samos was of the brightest minds of science, being the first to mathematically prove that the Sun is at the centre of the universe and that all planets revolve around it. Although not the first to talk about the Heliocentric model of the universe, as Plato, Anaxagoras, Philolaos, Pythagoras, Archelaos, and Aanaximandros had before him, Aristarchos became the main proponent and supporter of the model.
Born around 310 B.C., Aristarchus became a student of Strato and conducted multiple astronomical studies during his stay at Alexandria. Early on, he measured Earth’s distance from the Moon and the Sun as well as their size.
What is one of man’s greatest scientific feats is the proof of the Heliocentric model. Aristarchus first provided scientific basis and proved that the Earth rotates around its axis and revolves around the Sun in a fixed position in the universe, almost 1600 years before Copernicus who is often incorrectly attributed of the feat. Therefore, he dismissed the Geocentric model of the universe in which the Earth was considered the centre of the universe. Moreover, he proved that the Earth makes an annual rotation around the Sun and a daily rotation around its own axis. He measured that the Sun’s diameter is 20 times bigger than that of Earth’s and the Earth’s being 3 times bigger than that of the Moon’s. Most of his work on astronomy has been lost but still survives through the writings of other ancient Greek philosophers such as Archimedes and Sextos Empeirikos.
His contribution to science and humanity proved to be immense by giving people an understanding of the laws of the universe. The scientific value of his studies contributed to the rise of the Renaissance and the development of mankind’s technology and reason.
- ”Aristarchus”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.
- Pleuris, Konstantinos. The Greeks, Issue 2. Athens: Hilektron, 2013. Print.