Pythagoras May Have Been A Murderous Math Cult Leader

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You may be most familiar with the name Pythagoras from the common theorem dealing with right triangles. However, the ancient mathematician Pythagoras, who lived around 500 B.C., was quite a character himself. One weird quirk is that he was afraid of beans. But, he also led a math cult of Pythagoreans who would discuss mathematical ratios and proportions. According to legend, a member of Pythagoras' cult (or religion, depending on the source) tried proving to Pythagoras that the leg of a triangle could be an irrational number. Pythagoras is rumored to have then killed the man, who was named Hippasus.

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What Was Up With Pythagoras?

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Mathematician Pythagoras had a strong fear of beans. 00:14

  2. Arabic numbers were brought to the west by Fibonacci around the year 1200. 02:27

Pythagoras: Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, And Astronomer

Pythagoras Cup (Greedy Cup) Filled With Mercury

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Pythagoras invented the Pythagoras cup so that none of his students would receive more than their share of wine. 00:19

  2. Watch an animated demonstration of how the Pythagoras cup prevents drinkers from getting too greedy: 01:48

  3. Putting liquid mercury at the bottom of a Pythagoras cup will prevent it from working. 03:09

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