Archimedes’s Eureka Moment – Manchester, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 28.520 W 002° 13.979
30U E 550907 N 5925423
Quick Description: This statue of Archimedes and his Eureka moment was erected by the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in September 1990. It is one of a series of science inspired sculptures near to UMIST’s student union building.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/6/2012 3:02:37 AM
Waymark Code: WME5DK
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 1

Long Description:

The statue
The statue stands in a railway viaduct arch on Altrincham Street outside the student union building for what used to be UMIST, but has now merged with another university to become simply Manchester University.

The sculptor was Thompson Dagnall and it was unveiled in September 1990. The statue shows a life sized Archimedes leaping naked from his bath whilst experiencing his Eureka moment. It is sculpted in stone.

In order to maintain his modesty the statue shows him in a tall vertical bathtub with only his upper body visible. It portrays him as a relatively young man rather than the old man with long flowing white hair and beard that is usually used for him. After it was first opened the sight of a naked man leaping from his batch proved to be too tempting to the students to leave him alone. They used to climb into the bath with him and he started to be damaged, including losing his nose.

These days the sculpture is protected by strong railings and he has been given a new nose.

“Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, philosopher and inventor who wrote important works on geometry, arithmetic and mechanics.

Archimedes was born in Syracuse on the eastern coast of Sicily and educated in Alexandria in Egypt. He then returned to Syracuse, where he spent most of the rest of his life, devoting his time to research and experimentation in many fields.

In mechanics he defined the principle of the lever and is credited with inventing the compound pulley and the hydraulic screw for raising water from a lower to higher level. He is most famous for discovering the law of hydrostatics, sometimes known as 'Archimedes' principle', stating that a body immersed in fluid loses weight equal to the weight of the amount of fluid it displaces. Archimedes is supposed to have made this discovery when stepping into his bath, causing him to exclaim 'Eureka!'

During the Roman conquest of Sicily in 214 BC Archimedes worked for the state, and several of his mechanical devices were employed in the defence of Syracuse. Among the war machines attributed to him are the catapult and - perhaps legendary - a mirror system for focusing the sun's rays on the invaders' boats and igniting them. After Syracuse was captured, Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier. It is said that he was so absorbed in his calculations he told his killer not to disturb him.”

Most people have heard the story of his Eureka moment, but not everyone knows the story behind it.

King Hiero II had asked a goldsmith to make a crown for him and supplied the gold. He suspected that the goldsmith had cheated him and used some silver in the crown. He asked Archimedes to test the crown for him, but without melting it down.

At first Archimedes couldn’t think of a way of doing it, but one day getting in to his bath he noticed that the level of the water rose. He suddenly realised that the amount of water displaced would equal the volume of his body. He supposedly became so excited that he leapt from the bath and ran through the streets naked shouting ‘Eureka’ (Greek for “I have found it”).

He went on to test the crown and proved that the crown indeed had some silver content.

In reality there are difficulties in measuring volume this way, and it is not totally accurate. However most people have experienced ‘Eureka’ moments in their life when they suddenly think of something out of the blue. Although most people don’t then run round the streets naked.

This website describes a modern day experiment to test the principle using some gold cuff links.
URL of the statue: [Web Link]

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