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Theaetetus of Athens (/ˌθiːɪˈtiːtəs/; Greek: Θεαίτητος; c. 417–c. 369 BC),[1] possibly the son of Euphronius of the Athenian deme Sunium, was a Greek mathematician. His principal contributions were on irrational lengths, which was included in Book X of Euclid's Elements, and proving that there are precisely five regular convex polyhedra.[2] A friend of Socrates and Plato, he is the central character in Plato's eponymous Socratic dialogue.[3]

Theaetetus, like Plato, was a student of the Greek mathematician Theodorus of Cyrene. Cyrene was a prosperous Greek colony on the coast of North Africa, in what is now Libya, on the eastern end of the Gulf of Sidra. Theodorus had explored the theory of incommensurable quantities, and Theaetetus continued those studies with great enthusiasm; specifically, he classified various forms of irrational numbers according to the way they are expressed as square roots. This theory is presented in great detail in Book X of Euclid's Elements.

Theaetetus was one of the few Greek mathematicians who was actually a native of Athens. Most Greek mathematicians of antiquity came from the numerous Greek cities scattered around the Ionian coast, the Black Sea and the whole Mediterranean basin.

He evidently resembled Socrates in the snubness of his nose and bulging of his eyes. This and most of what we know of him comes from Plato, who named a dialogue after him, the Theaetetus. He apparently died from wounds and dysentery on his way home after fighting in an Athenian battle at Corinth, now presumed to have occurred in 369 BC; some scholars argue alternately for 391 BC as his date of death, the date of an earlier battle at Corinth.[4]

The crater Theaetetus on the Moon is named after him.
See also

List of speakers in Plato's dialogues

References

Boyer, Carl B. (1968). A History of Mathematics. New York, United States: John Wiley & Sons. p. 93.
Greek Geometry from Thales to Euclid by George Johnston Allman (Hodges, Figgis, & Company, 1889, p. 206).
Plato, Theaetetus.

Debra Nails, The People of Plato. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2002; pp. 275–278

External links

A Discussion of Theaetetus' Contributions to Euclid's Elements
O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Theaetetus of Athens", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.

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Ancient Greek and Hellenistic mathematics (Euclidean geometry)
Mathematicians
(timeline)
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
Treatises
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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Angle trisection Doubling the cube Squaring the circle Problem of Apollonius
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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
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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
Apollonius's theorem
Other
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
Centers
Cyrene Library of Alexandria Platonic Academy
Other
Ancient Greek astronomy Greek numerals Latin translations of the 12th century Neusis construction

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