Conon of Samos (Greek : Κόνων ὁ Σάμιος, Konōn ho Samios; c. 280 – c. 220 BCE) was a Greek astronomer and mathematician. He is primarily remembered for naming the constellation Coma Berenices.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in his or her work, typically to solve mathematical problems.
Coma Berenices is an ancient asterism in the northern sky which has been defined as one of the 88 modern constellations. It is located in the fourth galactic quadrant, between Leo and Boötes, and is visible in both hemispheres. Its name means "Berenice's Hair" in Latin and refers to Queen Berenice II of Egypt, who sacrificed her long hair as a votive offering. It was introduced to Western astronomy during the third century BC by Conon of Samos and was further corroborated as a constellation by Gerardus Mercator and Tycho Brahe. Coma Berenices is the only modern constellation named for a historic person.
Conon was born on Samos, Ionia, and possibly died in Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt, where he was court astronomer to Ptolemy III Euergetes. He named the constellation Coma Berenices ("Berenice's Hair") after Ptolemy's wife Berenice II. She sacrificed her hair in exchange for her husband's safe return from the Third Syrian War, which began in 246 BCE. When the lock of hair disappeared, Conon explained that the goddess had shown her favor by placing it in the sky. Not all Greek astronomers accepted the designation. In Ptolemy's Almagest , Coma Berenices is not listed as a distinct constellation. However, Ptolemy does attribute several seasonal indications ( parapegma ) to Conon. Conon was a friend of the mathematician Archimedes whom he probably met in Alexandria.
Ionia was an ancient region on the central part of the western coast of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the Ionian tribe who, in the Archaic Period, settled mainly the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea. Ionian states were identified by tradition and by their use of Eastern Greek.
Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it highly vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is also a popular tourist destination.
Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third king of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt from 246 to 222 BC.
Pappus states that the spiral of Archimedes was discovered by Conon. Apollonius of Perga reported that Conon worked on conic sections, and his work became the basis for Apollonius' fourth book of the Conics. Apollonius further reports that Conon sent some of his work to Thrasydaeus, but that it was incorrect. Since this work has not survived it is impossible to assess the accuracy of Apollonius' comment.
Pappus of Alexandria was one of the last great Greek mathematicians of Antiquity, known for his Synagoge (Συναγωγή) or Collection, and for Pappus's hexagon theorem in projective geometry. Nothing is known of his life, other than, that he had a son named Hermodorus, and was a teacher in Alexandria.
Apollonius of Perga was a Greek geometer and astronomer known for his theories on the topic of conic sections. Beginning from the theories of Euclid and Archimedes on the topic, he brought them to the state they were in just before the invention of analytic geometry. His definitions of the terms ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola are the ones in use today.
In astronomy, Conon wrote in seven books his De astrologia, including observations on solar eclipses. Ptolemy further attributes seventeen "signs of the seasons" to Conon, although this may not have been given in De astrologia. Seneca writes that "Conon was a careful observer" and that he "recorded solar eclipses observed by the Egyptians",although the accuracy of this statement is doubted. The Roman Catullus writes that Conon "discerned all the lights of the vast universe, and disclosed the risings and settings of the stars, how the fiery brightness of the sun is darkened, and how the stars retreat at fixed times."
Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic who wrote chiefly in the neoteric style of poetry, which is about personal life rather than classical heroes. His surviving works are still read widely and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.
Euclid, sometimes given the name Euclid of Alexandria to distinguish him from Euclides of Megara, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the "founder of geometry" or the "father of geometry". He was active in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I. His Elements is one of the most influential works in the history of mathematics, serving as the main textbook for teaching mathematics from the time of its publication until the late 19th or early 20th century. In the Elements, Euclid deduced the theorems of what is now called Euclidean geometry from a small set of axioms. Euclid also wrote works on perspective, conic sections, spherical geometry, number theory, and rigor.
Hipparchus of Nicaea was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician. He is considered the founder of trigonometry but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes.
Kidinnu was a Chaldean astronomer and mathematician. Strabo of Amaseia called him Kidenas, Pliny the Elder Cidenas, and Vettius Valens Kidynas.
Menelaus of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician and astronomer, the first to recognize geodesics on a curved surface as natural analogs of straight lines.
Aristarchus of Samos was an ancient Greek astronomer and mathematician who presented the first known heliocentric model that placed the Sun at the center of the known universe with the Earth revolving around it. He was influenced by Philolaus of Croton, but Aristarchus identified the "central fire" with the Sun, and he put the other planets in their correct order of distance around the Sun. Like Anaxagoras before him, he suspected that the stars were just other bodies like the Sun, albeit further away from Earth. His astronomical ideas were often rejected in favor of the geocentric theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy. Nicolaus Copernicus attributed the heliocentric theory to Aristarchus.
Berenice II was a ruling queen of Cyrene by birth, and a queen and co-regent of Egypt by marriage to her cousin Ptolemy III Euergetes, the third ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt.
The Almagest is a 2nd-century Greek-language mathematical and astronomical treatise on the apparent motions of the stars and planetary paths, written by Claudius Ptolemy. One of the most influential scientific texts of all time, its geocentric model was accepted for more than 1200 years from its origin in Hellenistic Alexandria, in the medieval Byzantine and Islamic worlds, and in Western Europe through the Middle Ages and early Renaissance until Copernicus.
Cleomedes was a Greek astronomer who is known chiefly for his book On the Circular Motions of the Celestial Bodies.
Federico Commandino was an Italian humanist and mathematician.
A dioptra is a classical astronomical and surveying instrument, dating from the 3rd century BCE. The dioptra was a sighting tube or, alternatively, a rod with a sight at both ends, attached to a stand. If fitted with protractors, it could be used to measure angles.
Greek astronomy is astronomy written in the Greek language in classical antiquity. Greek astronomy is understood to include the ancient Greek, Hellenistic, Greco-Roman, and Late Antiquity eras. It is not limited geographically to Greece or to ethnic Greeks, as the Greek language had become the language of scholarship throughout the Hellenistic world following the conquests of Alexander. This phase of Greek astronomy is also known as Hellenistic astronomy, while the pre-Hellenistic phase is known as Classical Greek astronomy. During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, much of the Greek and non-Greek astronomers working in the Greek tradition studied at the Musaeum and the Library of Alexandria in Ptolemaic Egypt.
Babylonian astronomy was the study or recording of celestial objects during early history Mesopotamia. These records can be found on Sumerian clay tablets, inscribed in cuneiform, dated approximately to 3500–3200 BC.
Nicoteles of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician from Cyrene.
Egyptian astronomy begins in prehistoric times, in the Predynastic Period. In the 5th millennium BCE, the stone circles at Nabta Playa may have made use of astronomical alignments. By the time the historical Dynastic Period began in the 3rd millennium BCE, the 365-day period of the Egyptian calendar was already in use, and the observation of stars was important in determining the annual flooding of the Nile.
Robert Catesby Taliaferro (1907–1989) was an American mathematician, science historian, classical philologist, philosopher, and translator of ancient Greek and Latin works into English. An Episcopalian from an old Virginia family, he taught in the mathematics department of the University of Notre Dame. He is cited as R. Catesby Taliaferro or R. C. Taliaferro.
Ivor Bulmer-Thomas CBE FSA, born Ivor Thomas, was a British journalist and scientific author who served eight years as a Member of Parliament (MP). His career was much influenced by his conversion to the Church of England in his youth, and he became a pious believer on the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church.
Otto Eduard Neugebauer was an Austrian American mathematician and historian of science who became known for his research on the history of astronomy and the other exact sciences in antiquity and into the Middle Ages. By studying clay tablets, he discovered that the ancient Babylonians knew much more about mathematics and astronomy than had been previously realized. The National Academy of Sciences has called Neugebauer "the most original and productive scholar of the history of the exact sciences, perhaps of the history of science, of our age."
Edmund Frederick Robertson is a Professor emeritus of pure mathematics at the University of St Andrews.
The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive is a website maintained by John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson and hosted by the University of St Andrews in Scotland. It contains detailed biographies on many historical and contemporary mathematicians, as well as information on famous curves and various topics in the history of mathematics.
The University of St Andrews is a British public university in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. It is the oldest of the four ancient universities of Scotland and the third oldest university in the English-speaking world. St Andrews was founded between 1410 and 1413, when the Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII issued a papal bull to a small founding group of Augustinian clergy.