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Diocles (Greek: Διοκλῆς; c. 240 BC – c. 180 BC) was a Greek mathematician and geometer.
Life and work

Although little is known about the life of Diocles, it is known that he was a contemporary of Apollonius and that he flourished sometime around the end of the 3rd century BC and the beginning of the 2nd century BC.[1]

Diocles is thought to be the first person to prove the focal property of the parabola. His name is associated with the geometric curve called the Cissoid of Diocles, which was used by Diocles to solve the problem of doubling the cube. The curve was alluded to by Proclus in his commentary on Euclid and attributed to Diocles by Geminus as early as the beginning of the 1st century.[2]

Fragments of a work by Diocles entitled On burning mirrors were preserved by Eutocius in his commentary of Archimedes' On the Sphere and the Cylinder and also survived in an Arabic translation of the lost Greek original titled Kitāb Dhiyūqlīs fī l-marāyā l-muḥriqa (lit. “The book of Diocles on burning mirrors”).[3] Historically, On burning mirrors had a large influence on Arabic mathematicians, particularly on al-Haytham, the 11th-century polymath of Cairo whom Europeans knew as "Alhazen". The treatise contains sixteen propositions that are proved by conic sections. One of the fragments contains propositions seven and eight, which is a solution to the problem of dividing a sphere by a plane so that the resulting two volumes are in a given ratio. Proposition ten gives a solution to the problem of doubling the cube. This is equivalent to solving a certain cubic equation. Another fragment contains propositions eleven and twelve, which use the cissoid to solve the problem of finding two mean proportionals in between two magnitudes. Since this treatise covers more topics than just burning mirrors, it may be the case that On burning mirrors is the aggregate of three shorter works by Diocles.[4] In the same work, Diocles, just after demonstrating that the parabolic mirror could focus the rays in a single point, he mentioned that It is possible to obtain a lens with the same property.[5]

Toomer, p. 2.
Toomer, p. 24.



Heath, Sir Thomas, A History of Greek Mathematics (2 vols.) Dover Publications, Inc. (1980), Oxford (1921) ISBN 0-486-24073-8.
G. J. Toomer, "Diocles On Burning Mirrors", Sources in the History of Mathematics and the Physical Sciences 1 (New York, 1976).
O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Diocles of Carystus", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
Malik, Saira (2021-01-01). "Diocles". Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE


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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