Heron of Alexandria

Greek: Ηρων ο Αλεξανδρευς
Who: Mathematician and inventor.
Born: 10 A.D.
Died: 70 A.D. (60 years)
Lived: Alexandria, Roman Egypt

Heron of Alexandria  - From a 1688 German translation of his book Pneumatics.

Heron of Alexandria
– From a 1688 German translation of his book Pneumatics.

Heron of Alexandria was an ancient Greek mathematicianwho was a resident of a Roman province (Ptolemaic Egypt) residing in the city of Alexandria. He is considered the greatest experimenter of antiquity and his work is representative of the Hellenistic scientific tradition. Heron most likely taught at the Musaeum, which includes the famous Library of Alexandria, as many of his writings appear in lecture notes for courses in mathematics, mechanics, physics and pneumatics but apart from these notes we know nothing about him and how he lived.

Heron invented many things throughout his life:

  • He is most famous for a steam-powered device called an aeolipile (sometimes called a “Hero engine”). An aeolipile is a rocket style jet engine that spins when heated, which is considered to be the first ever steam engine.
  • He is the inventor of a windwheel operating an organ, which was one of the first instances in history of wind powering a machine.
  • He was the creator of the first vending machine. Similar to today’s vending machines, when a coin was inserted into a slot in the machine a set amount of holy water was dispensed.
  • Heron invented many mechanisms that were used in the ancient Greek theatre, including an entirely mechanical play almost ten minutes in length that was powered by a binary-like system of ropes, knots, and simple machines being operated by a rotating cylindrical cogwheel.
  • A standalone fountain that operates under self-contained hydrostatic energy.

History Channel – Ancient Discoveries: Machines of the Gods:

Ancient temple inventions meant to fool people:

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