# The Center of Math Blog

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## Thursday, October 22, 2015

### Throwback Fact: Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus was an ancient Greek mathematician, scientist, and philosopher who predated most well known Greek thinkers. Though his contributions and discoveries in physical sciences and philosophy were noteworthy, this is the Center of Math, and thus we are going to focus on his contributions to mathematics for this week's Throwback Fact.  So, keep reading to learn more!

 Thales Source: Wikipedia

Thales was active in the early 500s BC. Most of Thales' discoveries in mathematics were in the field of geometry, where he was the first to require that mathematical theorems be proven rigorously, rather than evidenced intuitively. He also began to transform mathematics by viewing it as not just a field of study focused on practical results, but a study that could be investigated and explored with no regards of practicality.

 Thales' Theorem Source: Wikipedia
Thales is accredited with five theorems, his most famous given the name Thales' Theorem. The content of the theorem is that if points A, B, and C lie on a circle, then the line segment AC is a diameter of the circle if and only if angle ABC is a right angle. Not only is Thales famous for his eponymous theorem, he was also a teacher who educated others who could carry on his work. His most famous student, by most metrics, would be Pythagoras, whose breakthroughs you are likely familiar with already.

Today, Thales leaves a legacy due to his work and is accredited by many as the first mathematician. While it is hard to truly tell the exact amount of work he did (due to lost writings and lack of records) it is sure that Thales made a significant impact in his time.

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