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.
Know MoreFor 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.
Learn more in InventionsNiels Bohr, the 20th-century Nobel laureate Danish physicist, discovered and developed a realistic model of the atom, known as the Bohr model. Additionally, he developed the principle in quantum mechanics known as complementarity.
Full Answer >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 >Sir Joseph John Thomson, a British physicist, discovered the electron in 1897. In experiments studying electric discharge in cathode tubes, he noted a high value for the ratio of charge to mass. His observation led him to identify the first subatomic particle, the electron.
Full Answer >Scientist John Dalton is accredited for postulating the atomic theory that states that atoms can neither be created nor destroyed. He proved that atoms exist and are invisible. The atomic theory also states that atoms combine together in whole ratios to form compounds.
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