Natasha Dagg

Hypatia of Alexandria’s Discoveries

Hypatia’s discoveries and accomplishments include:
-A Commentary on the Arithmetica of Diophantus
-A Commentary on the Conics of Apollonious
-She edited the third book of her father’s Commentary on the Almagest of Ptolemy
-Platonic philosopher

Hypatia is greatly praised for her unusually high understanding of mathematics during her time period. Her father, Theon, also a mathematician was most likely who she studied under, but she soon surpassed his intelligence. Hypatia’s commentary on the Arithmetica of Diophantus and commentary on the Conics of Apollonious unfortunately did not survive time as less complex systems of solving were explored.

Hypatia began through discovery when she first invented a device used to measure the exact locations of the sun, moon and stars, which in turn concluded the sign of the zodiac; she titled this work the pane astrolable. The pan astroble was made up of rotating metal discs and a removable peg. Hypatia’s work was so precise that one was able to correctly solve questions in relation to spherical astronomy.

Possibly Hypatia’s most credited invention was the hydrometer. Although there is conflicting opinions on who the true inventor was, it is at least stated in all cases that Hypatia was instrumental in the creation of this scientific equipment. The hydrometer was a tube sealed and one end containing a weight. Once the hydrometer was placed in a liquid and began to sink, it was able to give the specific gravity of the given substance.

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