c.408 - c.355 BC
Eudoxus of Cnidus was a mathematician, astronomer and student of Plato. Since all his own works are lost, our knowledge of him is obtained from secondary sources.
In mathematical astronomy his fame is due to the introduction of the astronomical globe, and his early contributions to understanding the movement of the planets. He constructed a model of 27 spheres to explain the motions of the Moon, stars, and planets.
His work on proportions shows tremendous insight into numbers; it allows rigorous treatment of continuous quantities and not just whole numbers or even rational numbers. It became the basis for quantitative work in science until it was replaced by the algebraic methods of Descartes.
Eudoxus developed the method of exhaustion. This method is a precursor to the integral calculus.
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From the University of
St. Andrews, Scotland
School of Mathematics