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How taking a bath led to

Archimedes' principle
Some of the best opportunities to
learn are the moments in which we
are perplexed. Those moments in
which we begin to wonder and
question. These moments had
happened throughout the history and
led to some truly amazing
discoveries. Take this story for
example. There once was a fellow
Archimedes, who was born in 287 BC
in the city of Syracuse in Sicily. He
was a Greek mathematician,
physicist, engineer, inventor and
The most widely known story about
Archimedes tells of how he invented
a method (known as Archimedes
principle) for determining the volume
of an object with an irregular shape.
One day, Archimedes was
summoned by the King Hiero II
(Sicilys king) to investigate if he had
been cheated by a goldsmith. The
king said he had given a goldsmith
the exact amount of gold needed to
make a crown for a temple. However
when the crown was ready, the king
suspected that some silver had been
substituted by the dishonest
The king asked Archimedes to solve
the problem, but there was a catch
he couldnt do any damage to the
crown. So he could not melt it down
into a regularly shaped body in order
to calculate its density. He needed to
check the crowns density to see if it
was same as of the density of pure
gold. The density is the measure of
objects mass divided by its volume.
Pure gold is very dense, while silver
is less dense. So, if there was silver

in the crown, it would have been less

dense if it would have made from
pure gold. But it was not easy to find
crowns volume as it had no regular
shape thats different from simple
box or ball.
One day while taking his bath,
Archimedes noticed that the water
level in the bath tub rose and
overflowed as he immersed himself
into the tub. He suddenly realized
that how much water was displaced
depended on how much of his body
was immersed. This discovery
excited him so much that he jumped
out of the bathtub and ran
throughout the streets naked, so
excited by his discovery that he had
forgotten to dress, crying "Eureka!"
(Greek : meaning "I have found it!").
What did he find? Well, he found a
way to solve the Kings problem. The
solution Archimedes realized was to
give the crown a bath by placing it in
water and seeing how much water
was displaced, he could measure the
volume. For practical purposes water
is incompressible, so the submerged
crown would displace an amount of
water equal to its own volume. Then
he calculated the density of the
crown by dividing the mass of the
crown by the volume of water
This density would be lower than that
of gold if cheaper and less dense
metals had been added.
Then Archimedes went back to the
king and did his test. The test was
conducted successfully, proving that
the goldsmith had indeed cheated
the king and that silver had indeed
been mixed in.

This method to measure the volume

of the object is called as Archimedes
principle. So next time you take bath,
you can see Archimedes principle
and action. May be, you have a
genius idea of your own.