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Dinostratus (Greek: Δεινόστρατος; c. 390 – c. 320 BCE) was a Greek mathematician and geometer, and the brother of Menaechmus. He is known for using the quadratrix to solve the problem of squaring the circle.

Life and work

Dinostratus' chief contribution to mathematics was his solution to the problem of squaring the circle. To solve this problem, Dinostratus made use of the trisectrix of Hippias, for which he proved a special property (Dinostratus' theorem) that allowed him the squaring of the circle. Due to his work the trisectrix later became known as the quadratrix of Dinostratus as well.[1] Although Dinostratus solved the problem of squaring the circle, he did not do so using ruler and compass alone, and so it was clear to the Greeks that his solution violated the foundational principles of their mathematics.[1] Over 2,200 years later Ferdinand von Lindemann would prove that it is impossible to square a circle using straight edge and compass alone.

Citations and footnotes

Boyer (1991). "The age of Plato and Aristotle". A History of Mathematics. pp. 96–97. "Dinostratus, brother of Menaechmus, was also a mathematician, and where one of the brothers "solved" the duplication of the cube, the other "solved" the squaring of the circle. The quadrature because a simple matter once a striking property of the end point Q of the trisectrix of Hippias had been noted, apparently by Dinostratus. If the equation of the trisectrix (Fig. 6.4) is πrsin θ = 2aθ, where a is the side of the square ABCD associated with the curve, [...] hence, Dinostratus' theorem is established - that is, AC/AB = AB/DQ. [...] Inasmuch as Dinostratus showed that the trisectrix of Hippias serves to square the circle, the curve more commonly came to be known as the quadratrix. It was, of course, always clear to the Greeks that the use of the curve in the trisection and quadrature problems violated the rules of the game - that circles and straight lines only were permitted. The "solution" of Hippias and Dinostratus, as their authors realized, were sophistic; hence, the search for further solutions, canonical or illegitimate, continued with the result that several new curves were discovered by Greek geometers."

Dinostratus' theorem


Boyer, Carl B. (1991). A History of Mathematics (Second ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-54397-7.

External links

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


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
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