Knows the story of how Archimedes discovered the law named after him, jumped out of the bath without a tunic shouting, Eureka! Is sage running down the street without outerwear, today is hard to say. But the very opening, documented, no one disputes.
But the legend of the burning of the Roman fleet is somewhat different. For sure to find out whether Archimedes burnt the Roman fleet or is it only an invention of historians now impossible. What are silent witnesses? Extant several descriptions assaults Syracuse, Archimedes during which, according to legend, the Romans burned the ships.
In 212 BC, during the Second Punic War, the Romans laid siege to the Greek city of Syracuse. Enemy ships were from the coast at a distance of 150 meters, and because Archimedes designed catapult firing stone balls and incendiary shells, could not harm them. Archimedes then ordered the soldiers to be polished to a high gloss panels and take the mirror and then focus the sun’s rays on Roman ships. Warriors did as told scientist and wooden trireme – so called warships Romans – immediately erupted into flames. According to another version, the women helped Archimedes of Syracuse. They call him up to the ramparts with polished to a shine copper utensils, sending rays of the sun on Roman ships. According to a third theory scientist has built a great machine, includes the whole system of mirrors. In the center was a large hexagonal mirror, apparently consisting of a plurality of sections. Beside him were attached quadrangular.
The system was controlled by chain mechanisms. A turn signal lever unit focused solar radiation to different distances. Through this mechanism was set on fire several vehicles. Then the fire began to spread to other vessels. Romans were forced to retreat. Unfortunately, in the chronicles of the time there is no word about the use of fire in this battle. It was only 400 years after the battle, writers and scholars of the time in his writings and then casually mention it as a fact known to all about. Then there are the first attempts to test how it all happened. Who lived in the VI century BC. e. Mathematician, architect and sculptor Anfimov (who built the famous temple in Constantinople Sofia) created a system of twenty-four mirrors. Scientist uses unknown sources, which contained descriptions mirrors of Archimedes.
Confirmation fighting qualities of such a mirror held immediately: with its help Anfimov house burned to bother him long neighbor. Attempts such reconstructions were undertaken after Anfimov, but the solution is not fundamentally different – yes, in general, and could not be different, since the principle Anfimov found faithful. Impact on reputation The famous philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes in his work Dioptrics proved that to reduce the sun’s rays into a point. Only people who are not too well-versed in optics, convinced of the reality of many fables; these mirrors by which Archimedes allegedly burned afar ships were either extremely high or, more likely, did not exist – wrote the famous French scientist.
After the calculations and conclusions of the Descartes story about mirrors and Navy began to consider a myth and reputation if not Archimedes, the ray-mongers, was a serious blow. However, after a hundred years or so, in 1747, Descartes compatriot Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon made a bold assumption that the amount of heat is proportional to the amount of scattered light. This showed that even if the mirror is not too large, the heat may be enough to ignite the wood. In 1747 he built a system consisting of 128 flat mirrors. George not only ignited so tarred board at a distance of fifty yards, but was able to melt the silver and lead.
Experiments Buffon rehabilitated Archimedes – was no doubt that such a system could create and in the II century BC But the work of the Frenchman eventually was forgotten, and the question still remained open. Modern Pyro Create hyperboloid Archimedes tried and modern scientists. So, in 1973 Ioannis Sakas, Greek mechanical engineer, scored 70 assistants, placed them on the bay mirrors 91h50 see a command engineer assistants raised mirror, focusing sunbeams on the boat with the resin. Finally, when the sun’s rays are aligned at one point, the boat was covered with smoke and a few minutes later broke! And in 2005, had a similar experience of professors and students at MIT.
The leaders of the experiment examining the ancient sources, decided to act on the most simple option. They bought 129 square mirror tiles with a party of about 30 cm, and without relying on the diligence of students set their team on a semicircular structure at a distance of about 50 meters from the three-meter layout of the ship. One of the mirrors was papered with adhesive tape so that the reflected light went as a tilted cross. According to the plan, he served as an eye. Putting an end to the housing of the galley, mirrors gradually consolidated. Cope with targeting 129 mirrors needed for ten minutes; otherwise the sun would have taken the side. Installation debugged just a few people.
In addition, light clouds covered the sky, which somewhat reduces the light output. Finally, when the sun came fully coordinators pulled off with mirrors curtains. On the bow of the ship appeared bright spotlight. After a few minutes seemed to light smoke, traces of charring, and then flash and open flame. Layout of the ship flared like a splinter. The results of measurements of the reflected solar spot temperature reached 593 ° Celsius. Later, the experiment was repeated already on the water – and the ship broke out again. It turns out that Archimedes could really use a system of mirrors to set fire to Roman ships. In a laser sight According to Italian researchers, mirror system still existed. But its effect on actually was not quite as is commonly believed. Their light blinded oncoming enemy ships and then really flared up like candles. But not a laser was the cause, but all the same Greek fire – an incendiary mixture of resins, sulfur and saltpeter, is not yet known if the Romans.
Lighters hurled from catapults on the city wall remarkably accurately and efficiently. According to the version of the Italians, the giant bronze discs dazzle enemies reflected sunlight, served … telescopic sight. More precisely, it can be called a laser sight. As a thriller about assassins. Killer sitting for a few hundred meters away from his victim brings her red laser point … and pulls the trigger. To develop such a system in antiquity, Archimedes was necessary to know two things: flight-shot from a catapult, and optimal distance at which the human eye is able to distinguish light disc cast by the mirror on the sail. The first was perfectly well known to any soldier, the second was easy to determine experimentally in the streets of the city. Next Archimedes constructed thrower, in which the shooter took his bow at a time when there was a combination of the axis arrows with sunbeams.
All weapons have been calculated taking into account the curvature of an arrow over a distance of 300 cubits. When the fleets of Marcellus close to this distance from the mirrors flocking covers, throwers have guided shells at the target indications broke arrowheads and rang … pull the string And here I want to give the words of Plutarch: Archimedes was so proud science, what about those of their discoveries by which he gained fame … he did not leave any writings. This is not entirely accurate, but many works of Archimedes, we really do not know, but because there is no guarantee that in the future will not have any secret of the great scientist.