c. 365 - 300 B.C.E.

Although Euclid is a famous mathematician, very little is known about his life. It is believed that he was a student of Plato. Euclid was born around 365 B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt and lived until about 300 B.C. Euclid's most famous work is his collection of 13 books, dealing with geometry, called The Elements. They are said to be " the most studied books apart from the Bible".

Books 1-6 deal with plane geometry,
Books 7-9 deal with number theory,
Book 10 deals with Eudoxus's theory of irrational numbers, and
Books 11-13 deal with solid geometry.

This set of books is remarkably clear and easy to understand. Theorems are stated, then they are proved.

Euclid actually made few discoveries. He did make a few, but very minute ones. His books, the Elements, are based on the works of people before him. Interesting huh??? However, most of the proofs he made on his own.

Euclidean geometry is the study of points, lines, planes, and other geometric figures. The most prolonged argument over time has been that of the parallel postulate which states: there can only be one line that contains a given point and is parallel to another line.

I have noticed that in many high schools today, very little geometry is taught, if any at all. This disturbs me because math teaches logic. Geometry is like a big puzzle. You find the pieces, and put them where they go. Geometry also teaches understanding. How do you know if something is true or right? You don't until you prove it. Not only do you need logic for geometry class, you also need to be logic to survive in the world. If it is not being taught in the schools anymore, where will people obtain it?

Contributed by Alayna R. Cobb


  1. Euclides. The Elements of Euclid. London, J.M. Dent & Sons, Itd; NY, E.P., Dutton & Co. inc. <1933>.
  2. T.L. Heath. A History of Greek Mathematics 1. (Oxford, 1921).

Home  |  Men  |  Women  |  Topics  |  Activities