Pythagorean Theorem

   Pythagoras, the famous Greek philosopher and mathematician of the sixth century B.C., was born in Samos, off the coast of Asia Minor. As a mature man he immigrated to Croton, in southern Italy. Here he founded a brotherhood of religious-ethical orientation, which practiced strict self-discipline and vegetarianism. Pythagoreanism became politically influential in Croton, but was violently attacked throughout Italy, and the brotherhood broke into two groups. Neither branch had a long life.
   Pythagoras taught transmigration of the soul and a doctrine that came to be known as the "harmony of the spheres." According to this doctrine, certain parameters characterizing the celestial bodies are related to one another "harmoniously" by a mathematical rule. Pythagoreanism has been a powerful force in the development of Western culture. It has creatively inspired philosophers, theologians, mathematicians, and astronomers (notably Copernicus and Kepler).
   Schoolchildren are taught the Pythagorean theorem, that the square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. Fewer students may remember that Pythagoras symbolized the divergent paths of virtue and vice by the twentieth Greek letter of the alphabet, Upsilon (u).
   Legend has it that Pythagoras used to write on a looking-glass in blood and place it opposite the moon, and the inscription that appeared reflected on the moon's disc; that he tamed a savage Daunian bear by "stroking it gently with his hand"; that he subdued an eagle by the same means; and that he held absolute dominion over beasts and birds by "the power of his voice" or "influence of his touch."

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pythagorean theorem — n. Geom. the theorem that in a right triangle the hypotenuse squared is equal to the sum of the squares of the other sides (i.e., c2=a2+b2) …   English World dictionary

  • Pythagorean theorem — See also: Pythagorean trigonometric identity The Pythagorean theorem: The sum of the areas of the two squares on the legs (a and b) equals the area of the square on the hypotenuse (c) …   Wikipedia

  • Pythagorean theorem — Geom. the theorem that the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. [1905 10] * * * Rule relating the lengths of the sides of a right triangle. It says that the sum of the squares of… …   Universalium

  • Pythagorean theorem — noun a) A mathematical theorem which states that the square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of those of the two other sides. b) A generalization of the Pythagorean theorem (1) to Hilbert… …   Wiktionary

  • Pythagorean theorem — noun Date: 1743 a theorem in geometry: the square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle equals the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Pythagorean theorem — Pythag′ore′an the′orem n. math. the theorem that the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides • Etymology: 1905–10 …   From formal English to slang

  • pythagorean theorem — noun Usage: usually capitalized P : a theorem in geometry: the square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle equals the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides …   Useful english dictionary

  • Pythagorean theorem — mathematical theory developed by Pythagoras (Greek mathematician) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Pythagorean expectation — is a formula invented by Bill James to estimate how many games a baseball team should have won based on the number of runs they scored and allowed. Comparing a team s actual and Pythagorean winning percentage can be used to evaluate how lucky… …   Wikipedia

  • Pythagorean — means of or pertaining to the ancient Ionian mathematician, philosopher, and music theorist Pythagoras. See:Philosophy* Pythagoreanism an Egyptian influenced Neo Platonic philosophy named after the Greek philosopher and mathematician,… …   Wikipedia

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