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Math brain teaser requiring no math — just perception and cognition

Necrop­oli Grot­ti­cel­li, the tomb of Archimedes in Syra­cuse

_______________

Greek math­e­mati­cian, physi­cist, engi­neer, inven­tor, and astronomer Archimedes made many great sci­en­tif­ic dis­cov­er­ies through­out his life. He explained why and how bod­ies float in the water, designed mir­ror arrays capa­ble of focus­ing sun rays and set­ting ene­my ships on fire, found the way of approx­i­mat­ing the num­ber of grains of sand that will fit inside the uni­verse.

Now to the brain teas­er part.

His tomb was dec­o­rat­ed with his favorite dis­cov­ery. Which one of the fol­low­ing three sculp­tures was hon­or­ing Archimedes, and why?

  1. A gold­en crown com­mem­o­rat­ing his famous Eure­ka moment in the bath
  2. A lever with which he promised one could move the Earth
  3. A sim­ple cylin­der and a sphere

The puz­zle answer is below. Please think about it before check­ing it out…

_______________

ANSWER

The cor­rect answer is 3. What Archimedes him­self regard­ed as his great­est math­e­mat­i­cal accom­plish­ment was his proof that an sphere has two thirds of the vol­ume and sur­face area of the cylin­der con­struct­ed around it. There­fore the sculp­ture of a sim­ple sphere boxed in a cylin­der was placed on his grave­stone — and per­haps that tomb open­ing in the pic­ture above gave you a sub­lim­i­nal clue 🙂

More fun brain teasers for kids and adults:

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