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Mini Math Bio – Thales, The Father of Geometry
Thales, the Greek mathematician from Miletus, Ionia (now Western Turkey), is credited with formulating the very first “Principles of Geometry”.
Imagine, although human beings have lived on earth for hundreds of thousands of years, they had to wait until the 6th century BC to discover the following interesting rules that guide the behavior of triangles and circles:
Thales Rule #1: If you draw a triangle inside a circle, if the point of the triangle rests on the circumference and the diameter of the circle forms the long side of the triangle, then the angle formed by the two other shorter sides form a right angle of 90 degrees – regardless of the length of the shorter sides. (This rule is also known as “Thales’ theorem”.)
Thales rule n°2: The diameter of a circle divides it into two equal parts and into two arcs of equal length.
Thales rule n°3: If two triangles have a side of equal length and two angles of equal degrees, then these two triangles are identical.
Thales rule n°4: Two intersecting straight lines form four angles around their point of intersection. Opposite angles are equal angles. In other words, two intersecting lines form two pairs of equal angles.
Thales Rule #5: A triangle with two equal sides, i.e. an isosceles triangle, has equal angles where the equal sides intersect with the third side.
We owe the beginnings of our modern mathematics and geometry to a man who was so enamored with what he was doing that one day, according to Plato, Thales fell into a well of water while gazing at the stars. So, it might not be an exaggeration to say that Thales was also the very first “distracted teacher” we had.
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