Pythagoras – Radio 4 In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg and guests Serafina Cuomo, John O’Connor and Ian Stewart discuss the ideas and influence of the Greek mathematician Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans.

“The Ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras is probably best known for the theorem concerning right-angled triangles that bears his name. However, it is not certain that he actually developed this idea; indeed, some scholars have questioned not only his true intellectual achievements, but whether he ever existed…Nonetheless, Pythagorean ideas, centred on their theory of number, have had a profound impact on Western science and philosophy, from Plato through astronomers like Copernicus to the present day.”


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"The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's, must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. " G H Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology (London 1941).

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