Aristarchus – the great Samian
He was born in Samos on 310bC and studied at the Alexandrian School. He is the father of Astronomy, as well as being a mathematician and a philosopher. He introduced the notion of a heliocentric solar system, namely that the Earth and the planets revolve around the sun, which is the center of the – known- universe. However, his theories were considered inferior to the one of Aristotle and Ptolemy. Cleanthes even argued that Aristarchus ought to be convicted, since his theory breaks the calmness of the Gods, “altering the people’s focus and unsettling the tranquility of the Olympians”! Nevertheless he was vindicated for his significant observation in 1543aD, when Copernicus proved the heliocentric model. Aristarchus invented the ‘skafion’ an artifact measuring the hour of a day, geographic latitude, the daily deviation in the Sun’s orbit, as well as equinoxes, and all that in 281bC. Furthermore, he accounted for the succession of the four seasons, as being due to the inclination of the sun’s axis to its elliptical orbit. Finally, he succeeded Theophrastus (from Eressus, Lesvos), and kept on with the ‘School of Walking Philosophers’. He died circa 230bC.