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Hero (or Heron) of Alexandria

                   Hero's aeolipile



Heron of Alexandria was born in 75 AD.  He is a Greek mathematician but his interests are in engineering and mechanics.  He has written at least 13 works on mathematics, mechanics and physics.   His most famous work today in math is Proposition 1.8 of his Metrica, which is known as the Heron Formula.  

He also invented the first steam turbine, called the aeolipile. At that time it was used as a toy.  A hollow ball was supported on two brackets on the lid of a basin of boiling water.  One bracket was hollow and conducted steam.  The steam escaped from two bent pipes on the top, therefore creating a force that made it spin around.  The movement of the ball was used to make puppets dance.  Although it was very simple, Hero's aeolipile illustrated the scientific principle for Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Hero's steam engine helped a great deal with the development of the jet engine.  

Even though Hero invented many useful items and discovered many math formulas, Mechanics and Optics  was the only work that descended from him. 




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By: Anson Au and Joe Yeh
Last modified: December 15, 1999