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Who's Pythagoras?

Illustration of Pythagoras Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was the leader of the Brotherhood of Pythagoreans, a secret society which studied mathematics. Their motto was "All is number." The Pythagoreans explored the "magic 3-4-5 triangle." This type of triangle was called "magic" because any triangle with sides of 3, 4, and 5 units always created a right triangle. The Pythagoreans found that in 3-4-5 triangles, the area of the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the areas of the squares of the other two sides. They then generalized this rule for 3-4-5 triangles to apply to all right triangles. Although the theorem is named for Pythagoras, there is evidence that it may have been known by earlier civilizations.

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Photo: Corbis-Bettmann.

Andrew Wiles | Math's Hidden Woman | Pythagorean Puzzle
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