(another Prime Pages' Glossary entries)
The Prime Glossary
Glossary: Prime Pages: Top 5000: Euclid (pronounced YOO klihd) was a Greek mathematician who lived approximately 330-270 B.C. Euclid compiled and systematically arranged the geometry and number theory of his day into the famous text "Elements."  This text, used in schools for about 2000 years, earned him the name "the father of geometry."  Even today, the geometries which do not satisify the fifth of Euclids "common notions" (now called axioms or postulates) are called non-Euclidean geometries.  When the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy (reports Greek philosopher Proclus ) asked if there was a shorter way to the study of geometry than the Elements, Euclid told the Pharaoh that "there is no royal road to geometry."

Little is known of Euclid's life.  Proclus wrote (c. 350 AD) that Euclid lived during the reign of Ptolemy and founded the first school of mathematics in Alexandria--the site of the most impressive library of ancient times (with perhaps as many as 700,000 volumes).  He wrote books on other subjects such as optics and conic sections, but most of them are now lost.

See Also: EuclideanAlgorithm, TheElements

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Chris K. Caldwell © 1999-2014 (all rights reserved)