Q:

When did the Pythagoreans discover irrational numbers?

A:

Hippassus of Meropontum discovered irrational numbers in the fifth century B.C., when he developed the Pythagorean theorum for right triangles and discovered that hypotenuse length could not always be expressed as a rational number. The Euclidean proof of irrational numbers did not appear until 300 years later.

For the Pythagoreans, proving the potential for irrational numbers amounted to a mortal sin of sorts. Pythagoreans worshipped numbers as the foundation of both their philosophy and religion. They believed that all of cosmology, physics, ethics and spirituality was based in, and explainable through, rational numbers, particularly because of the infinite existence of rational numbers. Having something that was inexplicable through such a foundation was, at a minimum, disturbing for Pythagoreans.

Sources:

  1. brilliant.org

Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Who invented the kite?

    A:

    The kite is an ancient device that is believed to have been invented in China by two philosophers in the fifth century B.C. named Mo Di and Luc Ban. Before the kite's invention, China used wind sails, and it is thought that the first kites were modeled from these items.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did Ptolemy discover?

    A:

    While Greek mathematician and astronomy Claudius Ptolemy's geocentric theory was incorrect, he was able to explain the motions of heavenly bodies, according to Iowa State University's Polaris Project. The Central Rappahannock Regional Library also says Ptolemy used geometry to predict the movement of the planets (though he believed they revolved around the Earth). He cataloged 1,022 stars. His book "The Almagest" was the cornerstone of astronomy for many centuries.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who invented numbers and counting?

    A:

    The first use of numbers and counting cannot be traced to one specific individual in ancient times. It is unknown because learning to count is a discovery and not an invention. It is believed that numbers and counting were first used almost 32,000 years ago.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did Nicholas Copernicus discover?

    A:

    Nicolas Copernicus was a Polish astronomer who discovered that the Earth and other planets revolve around the sun. This heliocentric system replaced the prevailing theory that the Earth was the center of the universe and the sun revolved around it.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore