A: When most of we laypeople take baths, we sit in the tub, singing “Row, row, row your boat” while we play around with floating figurines. The famous ancient Greek mathematician/engineer Archimedes, however, bathed at a more serious level. During one of his more memorable bath sessions, Archimedes ended up discovering the scientific principles of density and buoyancy.
It all happened when Archimedes was living in Syracuse under the patronage of the royal family. The Emperor asked him to determine whether a crown was pure gold, and the answer struck Archimedes while he was in the tub. When the water started overflowing, he realized the crown’s density was the key. He grabbed the crown, placed it in water, and noted how much water was displaced. Then he took the crown’s exact weight in pure gold and repeated the process. Surprise, surprise – the numbers were different!
Supposedly, Archimedes was so excited by his discovery that he jumped out of the tub and ran home in the buff, shrieking “Eureka!” (or “I found it!”) in delight. What’s not known is if the neighbors, who must’ve witnessed the nude, dripping wet figure dashing and howling through the streets, shared in his mathematical excitement.Powered by Sidelines