Pythagorean Theorem origins
Name: mike f frain
Date: Around 1995
How did Pythagoras come up with his theorem for calculating the hypotenuse
of a right triangle to be a^2 + b^2 = c^2? I mean, how did he formulate it?
According to Sir Thomas L. Heath ( in Vol I of "the thirteen books of
Euclid's Elements," now apparently out of print ) we are not sure just how
he formulated it since our historical documents do not go back that far.
The book mentioned gives several possibilities and speculates that the
result may predate the Pythagorean era (India). Let me suggest that you
check a local library for this or other similar sources. In my system the
call letters would be QA (21 or 22 area). If necessary, your librarian can
translate to a different system.
Click here to return to the Mathematics Archives
Update: June 2012