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Conon of Samos (Greek: Κόνων ὁ Σάμιος, Konōn ho Samios; c. 280 – c. 220 BCE) was a Greek astronomer and mathematician. He is primarily remembered for naming the constellation Coma Berenices.

Life and work

Conon was born on Samos, Ionia, and possibly died in Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt, where he was court astronomer to Ptolemy III Euergetes. He named the constellation Coma Berenices ("Berenice's Hair") after Ptolemy's wife Berenice II. She sacrificed her hair in exchange for her husband's safe return from the Third Syrian War, which began in 246 BCE. When the lock of hair disappeared, Conon explained that the goddess had shown her favor by placing it in the sky. Not all Greek astronomers accepted the designation. In Ptolemy's Almagest, Coma Berenices is not listed as a distinct constellation. However, Ptolemy does attribute several seasonal indications (parapegma) to Conon. Conon was a friend of the mathematician Archimedes whom he probably met in Alexandria.

Pappus states that the spiral of Archimedes was discovered by Conon. Apollonius of Perga reported that Conon worked on conic sections, and his work became the basis for Apollonius' fourth book of the Conics. Apollonius further reports that Conon sent some of his work to Thrasydaeus, but that it was incorrect. Since this work has not survived it is impossible to assess the accuracy of Apollonius' comment.

In astronomy, Conon wrote in seven books his De astrologia, including observations on solar eclipses. Ptolemy further attributes seventeen "signs of the seasons" to Conon, although this may not have been given in De astrologia. Seneca writes that "Conon was a careful observer" and that he "recorded solar eclipses observed by the Egyptians",[1] although the accuracy of this statement is doubted. The Roman Catullus writes that Conon "discerned all the lights of the vast universe, and disclosed the risings and settings of the stars, how the fiery brightness of the sun is darkened, and how the stars retreat at fixed times."[2]
See also

Conon (crater), named in his honor

Citations and footnotes

Otto E. Neugebauer (1975)

Ivor Bulmer-Thomas (1970-1990)


Ivor Bulmer-Thomas. "Conon of Samos." Dictionary of Scientific Biography 3:391.
Otto E. Neugebauer, A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy (New York, 1975).

External links

O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Conon of Samos", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.


Ancient Greek astronomy

Aglaonice Agrippa Anaximander Andronicus Apollonius Aratus Aristarchus Aristyllus Attalus Autolycus Bion Callippus Cleomedes Cleostratus Conon Eratosthenes Euctemon Eudoxus Geminus Heraclides Hicetas Hipparchus Hippocrates of Chios Hypsicles Menelaus Meton Oenopides Philip of Opus Philolaus Posidonius Ptolemy Pytheas Seleucus Sosigenes of Alexandria Sosigenes the Peripatetic Strabo Thales Theodosius Theon of Alexandria Theon of Smyrna Timocharis


Almagest (Ptolemy) On Sizes and Distances (Hipparchus) On the Sizes and Distances (Aristarchus) On the Heavens (Aristotle)


Antikythera mechanism Armillary sphere Astrolabe Dioptra Equatorial ring Gnomon Mural instrument Triquetrum


Callippic cycle Celestial spheres Circle of latitude Counter-Earth Deferent and epicycle Equant Geocentrism Heliocentrism Hipparchic cycle Metonic cycle Octaeteris Solstice Spherical Earth Sublunary sphere Zodiac


Babylonian astronomy Egyptian astronomy


Medieval European science Indian astronomy Medieval Islamic astronomy


Ancient Greek and Hellenistic mathematics (Euclidean geometry)
Anaxagoras Anthemius Archytas Aristaeus the Elder Aristarchus Apollonius Archimedes Autolycus Bion Bryson Callippus Carpus Chrysippus Cleomedes Conon Ctesibius Democritus Dicaearchus Diocles Diophantus Dinostratus Dionysodorus Domninus Eratosthenes Eudemus Euclid Eudoxus Eutocius Geminus Heliodorus Heron Hipparchus Hippasus Hippias Hippocrates Hypatia Hypsicles Isidore of Miletus Leon Marinus Menaechmus Menelaus Metrodorus Nicomachus Nicomedes Nicoteles Oenopides Pappus Perseus Philolaus Philon Philonides Porphyry Posidonius Proclus Ptolemy Pythagoras Serenus Simplicius Sosigenes Sporus Thales Theaetetus Theano Theodorus Theodosius Theon of Alexandria Theon of Smyrna Thymaridas Xenocrates Zeno of Elea Zeno of Sidon Zenodorus
Almagest Archimedes Palimpsest Arithmetica Conics (Apollonius) Catoptrics Data (Euclid) Elements (Euclid) Measurement of a Circle On Conoids and Spheroids On the Sizes and Distances (Aristarchus) On Sizes and Distances (Hipparchus) On the Moving Sphere (Autolycus) Euclid's Optics On Spirals On the Sphere and Cylinder Ostomachion Planisphaerium Sphaerics The Quadrature of the Parabola The Sand Reckoner
Angle trisection Doubling the cube Squaring the circle Problem of Apollonius
Circles of Apollonius
Apollonian circles Apollonian gasket Circumscribed circle Commensurability Diophantine equation Doctrine of proportionality Golden ratio Greek numerals Incircle and excircles of a triangle Method of exhaustion Parallel postulate Platonic solid Lune of Hippocrates Quadratrix of Hippias Regular polygon Straightedge and compass construction Triangle center
In Elements
Angle bisector theorem Exterior angle theorem Euclidean algorithm Euclid's theorem Geometric mean theorem Greek geometric algebra Hinge theorem Inscribed angle theorem Intercept theorem Pons asinorum Pythagorean theorem Thales's theorem Theorem of the gnomon
Apollonius's theorem
Aristarchus's inequality Crossbar theorem Heron's formula Irrational numbers Menelaus's theorem Pappus's area theorem Problem II.8 of Arithmetica Ptolemy's inequality Ptolemy's table of chords Ptolemy's theorem Spiral of Theodorus
Cyrene Library of Alexandria Platonic Academy
Ancient Greek astronomy Greek numerals Latin translations of the 12th century Neusis construction

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